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Defense is absent in Wizards’ double OT loss to the San Antonio Spurs

Let’s take a look at the numbers of Washington’s latest game.

San Antonio Spurs v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In a defense optional game — SPOILER ALERT: everyone declined the option — the San Antonio Spurs outscored the Washington Wizards in double overtime, and departed the nation’s capital with a 157-153 victory.

For the Wizards, it was their third worst defensive rating of the season. For the Spurs, it was their 9th worst. As Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma put it, “A whole lot of no defense.”

How bad was Washington’s defense? They were at their best defensively with Thomas Bryant on the floor, who has been a train wreck defensively for most of his tenure in DC. And, their “best” was still a horror show against the Spurs. The rest of the game: a bleeding horror show.

Even absent defense, the Wizards got some quality play from Kyle Kuzma (36 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists), Raul Neto (22 points, 9 assists, just 1 turnover) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (24 points on 14 FGA).

Deni Avdija and Daniel Gafford were decent. The other guys who got playing time were shades of okay to awful.

For the Spurs, outstanding play from Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl and Keldon Johnson was enough to beat a Wizards team lacking in talent and cohesion. Poeltl dominated inside with 28 points, 11 rebounds (6 on the offensive glass) and a pair of blocks. Murray hung a triple-double on the Wizards — 31 points, 13 rebound, 14 assists. The only real mar on his line was 6 turnovers. And Keldon Johnson scored 32 points on just 20 field goal attempts.

Four Factors

Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses 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, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category are easier to understand.

Four Factors: Spurs 157 at Wizards 153

FOUR FACTORS SPURS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS SPURS WIZARDS
EFG 0.586 0.620
OREB 16 11
TOV 17 15
FTM 34 19
PACE 101
ORTG 129 126

Key Stats

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 in this game. 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 112.3. 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.

Key Stats: Wizards

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Kyle Kuzma 46 97 36 126 28.0% 176 34.6 6
Raul Neto 36 76 22 156 20.2% 211 32.5 -3
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 43 89 24 149 17.6% 156 28.3 2
Deni Avdija 37 78 14 107 14.5% 100 15.9 -7
Daniel Gafford 29 60 17 161 16.4% 127 15.5 -6
Corey Kispert 32 66 12 129 13.7% 88 11.8 13
Ish Smith 21 45 10 91 29.7% 67 6.1 -1
Rui Hachimura 20 41 8 123 15.3% 65 5.4 -9
Anthony Gill 8 17 4 118 24.3% 82 2.9 -5
Thomas Bryant 15 32 6 75 27.1% -12 0.0 -5
Cassius Winston 4 8 0 246 3.0% -154 0.0 -5

Key Stats: Spurs

SPURS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
SPURS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA GmSC +/-
Dejounte Murray 43 90 31 132 28.9% 187 37.9 -2
Jakob Poeltl 41 86 28 167 21.0% 192 37.2 1
Keldon Johnson 46 97 32 148 19.2% 157 34.4 16
Devin Vassell 42 89 12 126 11.4% 73 14.7 -7
Doug McDermott 27 58 12 121 16.1% 61 7.9 0
Lonnie Walker IV 35 74 23 108 24.0% 40 6.6 9
Zach Collins 16 34 4 85 18.8% 76 5.8 3
Tomas Satoransky 9 19 3 183 8.7% 129 5.6 3
Tre Jones 16 33 6 109 20.9% 49 3.6 6
Keita Bates-Diop 14 28 6 110 17.9% 53 3.4 -9