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Wizards hold off 76ers for second straight win

Stats and analysis

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis swoops in for a dunk in the team’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Wizards got their second straight win against a Philadelphia 76ers squad that rolled into DC on an eight-game winning streak. Washington didn’t exactly outplay Philadelphia, but they accumulated a 16-point lead in the third quarter and held on to secure the victory.

For the most part, the teams played fairly evenly. Each shot 27-31 from the free throw line. Each committed 15 turnovers. The Wizards grabbed more offensive rebounds (14-10), but the Sixers were slightly ahead in second-chance points (21-20). Washington made up the difference in transition, 13-12.

Philly pounded the Wizards inside with 62 points in the paint to Washington’s 42.

The difference? Washington shot 11-33 from three-point range while the Sixers were flinging ice bricks — just 6-31.

This wasn’t a case of stellar defense from the Wizards. I tracked Washington as contesting 11 of Philadelphia’s 31 three-point attempts. The 76ers shot 2-11 on contested threes and 4-20 on open or wide-open looks. If they shot their average, they’d have 3-4 additional made threes, which could have made a difference in a 5-point game.

The Wizards should send an appropriately snarky gift to Philadelphia’s Irwin Fletcher Georges Niang for a 1-7 shooting night from three.

But, the Sixers did miss, and Washington took advantage for the victory.

Good Stuff

  • Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. started a BIG lineup with Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford and Kyle Kuzma in the front court. The trio didn’t slow Embiid much (48 points and 10 rebounds), but Porzingis and Gafford were productive and effective on defense.
  • Porzingis had an efficient offensive night, scoring 24 points on 15 field goal attempts. He connected on 3-5 from deep and 7-9 from the free throw line. He also had 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. That’s a strong night against a tough opponent for The Unicorn.
  • Embiid quickly put Gafford in foul trouble, which limited the Washington youngster to just 19 minutes. But, Gafford was productive — 3-3 from the floor, 8 points, 4 offensive rebounds, a steal and a block. Philadelphia scored less than a point per possession when Gafford was in the game.
  • Delon Wright was excellent, especially on the defensive end, where he snatched 3 steals in 17 minutes.
  • Back from injury, Rui Hachimura added some first half offense. He finished with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, though he was 0-3 from three-point range. One potentially worrisome development: Hachimura had 1 rebound and zero assists, steals or blocks.
  • Deni Avdija played a decent game off the bench. His biggest play was a late strip of Embiid that preserved Washington’s lead in the final minutes. The official scorekeeper called the play a blocked shot. It should have been a steal.
  • Back to Unseld and the coaching staff for a moment, the starting lineup wasn’t the only thing different in the rotation. They also benched a reportedly healthy Will Barton — which only made sense given how poorly he’d been playing.

Not So Good Stuff

  • Bradley Beal was having a pretty good game but had to leave in the fourth quarter when he appeared to tweak his hamstring. He finished with 19 points and 5 assists. From the way he grabbed his leg, and his apparent frustration at the pain, I’d be a bit surprised if he plays tonight against the Phoenix Suns.
  • Kyle Kuzma did not play well. He was just 4-13 from the floor and 2-9 from three. He had 8 rebounds and just 1 assist. He was officially credited with 4 turnovers, all of which came in the first quarter. There was an additional bad pass to Gafford that resulted in a turnover, but the statistician assigned it to Gafford, not Kuzma.
  • In addition to dropping Barton from the rotation, Unseld and the coaching staff also sat Jordan Goodwin. While it makes sense to re-integrate Wright, who’s playing well, and Morris has been a steady presence in the lineup, I hope that a big-heavy rotation that included Taj Gibson was based on the specific matchup with Philadelphia and isn’t the plan going forward. Goodwin earned minutes by playing well when people were injured, and it’s better for the team in every way if he’s getting the 14+ minutes that went to Gibson last night.

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: 76ers at Wizards

EFG 0.500 0.524
OREB 10 14
TOV 15 15
FTM 27 27
PACE 100
ORTG 112 117

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

Kristaps Porzingis 35 72 24 126 25.3% 251 38.4 14
Bradley Beal 30 62 19 116 25.3% 143 18.9 1
Daniel Gafford 19 38 8 149 15.9% 158 12.9 -6
Delon Wright 17 36 7 123 14.9% 166 12.5 -2
Rui Hachimura 21 44 14 131 21.3% 96 9.0 4
Deni Avdija 20 42 7 133 12.9% 88 7.7 -5
Taj Gibson 14 30 7 149 18.2% 86 5.4 0
Corey Kispert 17 34 8 97 22.6% 65 4.8 2
Monte Morris 30 62 8 110 17.2% 35 4.6 6
Kyle Kuzma 38 78 14 77 20.7% -24 0.0 11

Stats & Metrics; 76ers

James Harden 40 83 26 131 28.3% 254 44.6 -2
Joel Embiid 36 74 48 125 46.8% 261 41.1 8
Tobias Harris 39 81 15 98 17.0% 62 10.7 -7
Montrezl Harrell 10 20 9 162 26.2% 195 8.2 -4
P.J. Tucker 19 39 0 99 3.2% 47 3.9 -7
De'Anthony Melton 35 73 6 88 10.0% 14 2.1 -1
Paul Reed 3 6 0 0.0% 94 1.2 -9
Matisse Thybulle 5 10 0 0.0% 35 0.7 -3
Danuel House Jr. 9 18 3 72 24.5% -61 0.0 2
Shake Milton 17 35 1 36 13.2% -139 0.0 -4
Georges Niang 28 59 3 53 9.3% -89 0.0 2