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Wizards eclipse Suns, snap losing streak

Stats and analysis of the Washington’s victory over the Phoenix Suns

Washington Wizards v Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma exchange shot-making tips during Washington’s win.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Wizards killed off their 10-game losing streak with a wild and entertaining contest against a lethargic Phoenix Suns squad.

For much of the night, Phoenix point god Chris Paul played like a guy squeezing in a run between his daytime job and his graveyard shift side hustle. He trudged up and down the floor, gave the ball to teammates and stood around as much as possible.

With the exception of Landry Shamet, Deandre Ayton and a little Duane Washington Jr., Paul’s teammates seemed content to follow his lead. The Wizards were a little friskier, and they seemed ready to blow the game open when they ran up a 17-point lead midway through the third quarter.

The Suns responded with a run and ended up building a 10-point lead of their own midway through the final period. The Wizards responded with one final run and coasted home with their first win since Nov. 28.

Good Stuff

  • At times, Kyle Kuzma seemed to be campaigning to be captain of the Wizards’ all-tank squad, and his defense was feeble throughout, but overall this was one of Kuzma’s better games. As is often the case with a high usage player, the defining feature of his performance was making shots — 29 points on 10-19 shooting, and 5-10 from three. He also had 6 assists and just 2 turnovers.
  • Deni Avdija had a model game for him — 16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. He shot well — 4-8 from the floor, 2-5 from three, and 6-6 from the free throw line, and he committed zero turnovers. His defense was mostly solid as well.
  • Bradley Beal overcame a rough start to stabilize the team when it staggered in the second half, and he finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He even seemed interested in defending.

Not So Good Stuff

  • First win in a month, and you want me to complain?! Okay, how’s this? Landry Shamet has one legit NBA-level skill — long-range shooting. Somehow, the Wizards kept helping off him, losing track of him off ball, or just plain not paying attention to him. He lit them up with 9-16 shooting from deep. Repeat victims included Jordan Goodwin, Beal, Monte Morris, and Will Barton.
  • Speaking of Barton, he was terrible. His shooting was fine, but he had 3 turnovers to just 1 assist, his defense was a horror. On one play, Barton was matched against Shamet, who lifted from the corner. Barton had no help responsibility on the play, but for some reason just let Shamet go free for a wide-open above-the-break three. Goodwin ended up the closest defender with a late scramble to try and contest.
  • Goodwin had a rough outing overall — just 1-5 from the floor and 3 rebounds. He didn’t have his usual energy.
  • Back to Barton for a moment. The Wizards were -23 in his 17 minutes of playing time.

Four Factors

Below are the four factors that decide wins and losses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made).

I’ve simplified them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, I find the raw numbers more useful when analyzing a single game.

Four Factors: Wizards at Suns

EFG 0.544 0.534
OREB 9 15
TOV 9 14
FTM 26 15
ORTG 119 116

Stats & Metrics

Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls).

Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.

PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.

POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.

PTS = points scored

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average last season was 112.0. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.

USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.

ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.

Stats & Metrics: Wizards

Kyle Kuzma 37 73 29 130 28.6% 262 36.5 7
Deni Avdija 36 71 16 169 14.1% 201 27.6 11
Bradley Beal 35 70 27 112 36.9% 184 24.6 25
Daniel Gafford 29 58 12 136 17.0% 151 16.8 -4
Monte Morris 36 72 9 103 12.7% 120 16.5 11
Taj Gibson 19 37 6 155 10.1% 96 6.7 8
Corey Kispert 18 36 6 103 13.1% 42 2.9 -12
Will Barton 17 34 6 73 20.8% -38 0.0 -23
Jordan Goodwin 12 23 2 40 16.6% -140 0.0 -8

Stats & Metrics: Suns

Landry Shamet 35 70 31 147 25.8% 275 36.9 4
Deandre Ayton 32 63 30 120 34.1% 131 15.9 -16
Duane Washington Jr. 12 24 10 143 26.4% 305 14.3 7
Chris Paul 36 70 12 107 24.0% 83 11.2 -10
Torrey Craig 30 59 6 129 11.3% 78 8.9 -19
Bismack Biyombo 16 31 7 129 16.5% 59 3.5 12
Ish Wainwright 21 42 2 77 10.1% 8 0.7 18
Damion Lee 18 35 2 61 6.9% -47 0.0 -5
Mikal Bridges 39 78 10 74 17.4% -54 0.0 -6