Kristaps Porzingis played well in his Wizards debut, and Washington beat the Indiana Pacers, 133-123.
The defense from both teams was marginally better than an NBA All-Star game. The Wizards allowed the league’s 18th ranked offense to shoot 57.6% (effective field goal percentage) and won because they shot a scoring 62.2% of their own.
The lack of defense was not surprising. The Wizards ranked 24th on that end entering the game. The Pacers were 25th.
While the game itself doesn’t mean a whole lot, Porzingis provided a nice look at what he can do. He scored 25 points in just 21 minutes, including knocking 3-4 from three-point range. The team defense was marginally better when he was out there, and the 7-3 “Unicorn” blocked a pair of shots. It was an impressive first game, and he emerged from it without apparent injury.
The drivers of Washington’s victory last night were veterans: Ish Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Porzingis. The team’s youth was mostly missing in action.
Rui Hachimura missed his shots and contributed little of value during his 16 minutes.
Deni Avdija had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, but the team’s defense was a wreck when he played — in part because he had trouble staying in front of his man.
Corey Kispert hit 3-6 from three-point range, committed 2 fouls, and had zeros across the board in rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and turnovers. In 23 minutes.
Thomas Bryant was pushed out of the rotation by Porzingis. He was a DNP-CD for the first time this season. This makes sense. Gafford starts a three-year contract extension next season, and Bryant’s contract expires at the end of this year. With Porzingis the starter in the middle when healthy, the team will almost surely part ways with Bryant this summer.
While the Wizards schedule the rest of the season is easier than it’s been to-date, their next five are against the Western Conference, and four of the five are on the road. My prediction machine currently has the Wizards as underdogs in each of the next six games. The next time they’re favored is March 19 in a home matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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: Pacers 123 at Wizards 133
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
Key Stats: Pacers
|Duane Washington Jr.||24||50||11||124||15.5%||57||6.5||0|