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The Numbers Crunch: Perfect play fails and Bucks escape with win over the Wizards

Washington Wizards v Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks center Robin Lopez demolished Daniel Gafford and the Washington Wizards.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Wizards lost their eighth straight game — this one to the Milwaukee Bucks — and...I really don’t see how this roster can play much better.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t some kind of stealth good game or something. And I stopped awarding moral victories a few years back.

But, they tried, they competed, they ran good stuff on offense, they hit shots. They just lost to a better team that really didn’t play all that well, but got an otherworldly performance from Brook Lopez, and outstanding games from Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Those three from Milwaukee were good enough almost by themselves to defeat the Wizards, who got solid performances from several players. With a few different breaks, Washington could have walked out of the Bucks’ arena with a win.

Musings & Observations

  • With Bilal Coulibaly resting a bruised knee, Wisconsin native Johnny Davis got 13 minutes of action. He wasn’t bad — competed on defense, hit the glass (5 rebounds) and looked for chances to contribute on offense.
  • Tyus Jones played his best game since coming to the Wizards — 22 points on 9-14 shooting, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, and zero turnovers or fouls.
  • Corey Kispert hit shots (6-10 from three) and got 5 defensive rebounds. He also had 3 turnovers. His turnovers aren’t cause for concern this season (yet), though they have ticked up to a career high as he tries to do more off the dribble.
  • Daniel Gafford battled, but got mauled by Lopez. Gafford looked gassed at times — hands on hips, huffing-and-puffing for air. He played just 29 minutes.
  • This was one of Jordan Poole’s better games for the Wizards, and it was still some distance from “good.” His offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was 115, which is about a point better than league average. But in this game, the Bucks’ ortg was 126 and Washington’s was 123.
  • Kuzma had some impressive plays, but his offensive efficiency was subpar (104 ortg) on a weak shooting night (relative to league average). For at least one night, Kuzma swiped the defensive futility championship belt from Poole — the team defense was at its worst during Kuzma’s minutes.
  • Deni Avdija played one of his worst games of the season. He shot just 1-6 from the floor, though he did grab five rebounds. He was credited with five assists, though one will probably get transferred to Gafford when the league stats office reviews the video. In the third quarter, Avdija dribbled up the court, drove into the lane in transition, and passed to Gafford, who then passed to Poole. Poole drove to the basket for a layup. (If it was my call, no one would get an assist on this play.)
  • This was a close contest with the Wizards holding a slender advantage in the first half, and the Bucks taking a similarly slender lead in the second. Washington’s biggest lead was 6 points. For Milwaukee, it was 7. The game was tied 22 times, and there were 19 lead changes.
  • The Bucks won with brute force: they had 100 points in the paint plus free throw to Washington’s 75. The Wizards stayed close with threes — 15-37 from deep vs. Milwaukee’s 9-31.
  • Kudos to Wes Unseld Jr. or whoever designed that gem of a sideline out-of-bounds play they ran at the end of the game. Down three with 16.3 seconds left in the game, the play had decoys, a fake screen, a fake action that looked like the classic offense’s “well crap, the play broke down, so the last guy we want to get the ball will just come get it,” and then suddenly Landry Shamet has a wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open look on a corner three. Which he airballed. Click here to watch it.

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).

Four Factors: Wizards at Bucks

FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS BUCKS
FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS BUCKS
EFG 0.555 0.571
OREB 12 10
TOV 8 9
FTM 17 26
PACE 104
ORTG 123 126

Stats & Metrics

Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score. 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. 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 sometimes producing weird results.

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

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average last season was 114.8. 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 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.

+PTS = “Plus Points” is a measure of the points gained or lost by each player based on their efficiency in this game compared to league average efficiency on the same number of possessions. A player with an offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) of 100 who uses 20 possessions would produce 20 points. If the league average efficiency is 114, the league — on average — would produced 22.8 points in the same 20 possessions. So, the player in this hypothetical would have a +PTS score of -2.8.

Stats & Metrics: Wizards

WIZARDS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Tyus Jones 31 66 160 20.8% 6.2 252 33.8 3
Corey Kispert 33 70 128 17.6% 1.8 128 18.3 -2
Landry Shamet 24 52 130 17.0% 1.4 122 12.9 0
Daniel Gafford 29 63 133 14.7% 1.7 100 12.7 -6
Jordan Poole 34 73 115 32.0% 0.1 79 11.7 -3
Kyle Kuzma 31 67 104 28.9% -2.0 83 11.3 -1
Johnny Davis 12 27 122 21.3% 0.5 122 6.7 -5
Danilo Gallinari 18 39 132 12.8% 0.9 60 4.7 1
Deni Avdija 28 61 93 10.3% -1.3 10 1.3 -2

Stats & Metrics: Bucks

BUCKS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
BUCKS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Brook Lopez 32 69 186 25.0% 12.5 456 64.2 8
Damian Lillard 37 80 153 26.6% 8.3 209 33.7 1
Giannis Antetokounmpo 37 80 122 30.5% 1.9 178 28.9 -10
Malik Beasley 27 58 106 16.2% -0.8 95 11.3 4
Khris Middleton 13 28 101 30.4% -1.1 71 4.0 5
Cameron Payne 17 36 129 10.5% 0.6 48 3.6 -4
Bobby Portis 25 53 74 8.6% -1.8 0 0.0 3
AJ Green 4 8 76 38.4% -1.2 -41 0.0 -2
MarJon Beauchamp 13 29 82 18.7% -1.7 -54 0.0 8
Andre Jackson Jr. 9 19 244 1.4% 0.3 -84 0.0 0
Pat Connaughton 27 58 36 10.4% -4.7 -44 0.0 2