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Wizards outlast Luka Doncic and the Mavericks

Stats, analysis and commentary

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
Wizards forward Deni Avdija had a stellar game in the team’s win over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

In their first game since trading Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Wizards played a hard-fought and wildly entertaining game against the Dallas Mavericks and emerged with a one-point victory.

While basketball stories typically focus most on the leading scorer for the winning team (for example), what won the game for the Wizards was some grit and grind from Deni Avdija and Delon Wright off the bench.

Avdija had some difficult moments against Dallas star Luka Doncic, but he led the team with 11 contested shots, 2 loose balls recovered, 3 deflections and 3 steals. He added 10 rebounds and 15 points on just 5 field goal attempts — thanks to hitting 9 of his career high 11 free throw attempts.

Wright was a disruptive force on defense, again with 5 deflections, a loose ball recovered and 3 steals, including a swipe on the game’s final play.

None of the above should be read as dissing the contributions of the team’s leading scorers Kyle Kuzma (30 points) and Bradley Beal (22). In a one-point game, every contribution is meaningful. Overall, Kuzma was decent and Beal’s outing was rough.

The issue with the scoring each was efficiency — their ability to use possessions to score points. Kuzma’s offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was 106. Beal’s was 103. The team’s average for the game: 125.

Think about it like this: last night, Beal and Kuzma combined to use 43% of the team’s offensive possessions. Combined, they produced 36% of the team’s points.

Once again: were the points valuable? Of course. Might the Wizards have avoided a close call and needed a steal from Wright to seal the game in the final seconds had either of those two been even average in efficiency? Of course.


  • Believe it or not, this was actually something of a below average performance for Luka Doncic. I know that sounds ridiculous considering his 41 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. But, his efficiency was a league 114 — his season average entering the game was 119. His PPA for the game was 194. His season average before tonight: 226.
  • Monte Morris had another one of his quietly valuable mistake free games — 13 points on 9 field goal attempts, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, zero turnovers.
  • Will Barton got some genuine rotation minutes for the first time in weeks and contributed offensively. His defense...was not a contribution to the Wizards.
  • The Wizards are now 2-0 on the 10-game “easy” stretch they have before the trade deadline. My prediction machine has them favored in 5 of the next 8 contests. That would put them at 26-29 and on course for 37-39 wins and possibly 10th place in the East.

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 often find the raw numbers more useful when analyzing a single game.

Four Factors: Wizards at Mavericks

EFG 0.572 0.584
OREB 6 8
TOV 10 9
FTM 32 22
PACE 102
ORTG 125 124

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

Deni Avdija 32 68 15 152 16.5% 215 31.1 4
Delon Wright 22 46 10 167 15.8% 277 26.8 -3
Monte Morris 27 57 13 148 15.9% 168 20.5 3
Kyle Kuzma 37 78 30 106 30.4% 94 15.6 8
Corey Kispert 34 71 14 108 17.1% 82 12.5 -8
Will Barton 15 32 8 141 17.6% 165 11.3 0
Daniel Gafford 19 40 9 134 20.4% 60 5.1 1
Anthony Gill 19 41 6 170 9.2% 57 4.9 -1
Bradley Beal 30 64 22 103 31.9% 21 2.8 -2
Taj Gibson 6 12 0 0 6.5% -108 0.0 3

Stats & Metrics: Mavericks

Luka Doncic 38 80 41 114 42.3% 194 33.0 -2
Josh Green 32 68 16 159 13.3% 152 22.0 7
Dwight Powell 34 71 22 135 23.0% 134 20.4 0
Spencer Dinwiddie 35 73 20 120 25.5% 110 17.2 16
Dorian Finney-Smith 31 66 12 162 11.2% 119 16.6 -11
Davis Bertans 13 27 7 229 9.1% 202 11.4 5
Reggie Bullock 24 51 3 98 9.9% 17 1.8 -14
Tim Hardaway Jr. 34 71 5 65 12.8% -19 0.0 -6