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The Numbers Crunch: Wizards succumb to Magic

Stats, analysis, commentary.

Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards guard Tyus Jones
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Wizards’ loss to the Orlando Magic calls to mind a new marketing slogan for the remainder of the season → The Washington Wizards: On some nights, not as bad as expected.

Mileage may vary based on expectations, of course. Coming into this one, I thought chances were high the Wizards would take a stomping. First home game after a road trip with three days off? Seemed ripe for the Wizards to mail it in at the first sign of adversity.

Instead, they kept things close most of the way and even bounced back after letting the Magic lead balloon to 17 in the fourth quarter to make Orlando feel like they had to work for the victory.

This is not to say the Wizards played well. Let’s keep the bar where it belongs. They shot well but made an array of dumb turnovers that offset the fact that they somehow outrebounded the Magic 47-40 for the game, and 10-7 on the offensive glass. It’s just the second time all season the Wizards have grabbed more rebounds than their opponent.

On defense, the Wizards were a bit better than they’ve been most of the season, which is to say still well below average. Orlando got an abundance of open looks and mostly converted.

Musings & Observations

  • Yet another stellar game from Tyus Jones. It’s feeling almost like a surprise when he misses a shot. Last night: 22 points on 13 shots, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal, a block, and just two turnovers. His offensive rating (points produced per possession used x 100): 144 on a 19.5% usage rate. That’s getting it done.
  • Jordan Poole mostly took better shots, and he made them for a change, which meant he had a good game — 30 points on 11-20 shooting from the floor and 6-11 from three. He added three steals, including a “pick six” in the fourth quarter predicated on his anticipation and quickness. A couple of his turnovers were in the category of heat checks — trying flashy moves after making a shot or two.
  • Daniel Gafford was excellent — 13 points on 7 shots, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks. His teammates on the perimeter keep putting him in tough spots. He has to rotate to protect the rim on drives, which leaves his man open unless another of his teammates rotates to cover for him...which rarely actually happens.
  • Corey Kispert, apparently inspired by the chance to play against former college teammate Jalen Suggs, shot well (6-8 from the floor and 3-5 from three) and grabbed four rebounds.
  • Bilal Coulibaly had a good defensive effort and had a couple blocks, as well as an eye-popping offensive rebound. On the other hand, he had one field goal attempt and two free throws in 26 minutes. Combined with three assists and two turnovers, his usage rate was an anemic 9.0%.
  • Delon Wright was fine in his first game back from an extended absence due to injury. Landry Shamet was agile and quick but missed all three of his shot attempts.
  • Deni Avdija had a bad game — just 1-7 from the floor and 0-4 from three. He grabbed five rebounds and produced three well as a pair of turnovers. He produced three steals and a block, though the team defense was at its least effective when he was in the game last night.
  • Kyle Kuzma had one of his worst games of the season — 17 points on 18 shots. That’s 6-18 from the floor and 2-8 from three. He managed just four rebounds in 36 minutes, and committed 6 turnovers to go with his 6 assists.
  • One cool and astonishing thing: On a play in the second half, the Magic got a mismatch with Paolo Banchero posted up on Jones. Kuzma came over as if to double, but it was actually a switch. Jones sprinted out to the perimeter, Kuzma defended Banchero, who missed the shot. That’s an advanced defensive tactic the Wizards successfully executed in a game.

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: Magic at Wizards

EFG 0.591 0.593
OREB 7 10
TOV 16 20
FTM 17 17
PACE 107
ORTG 118 111

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. 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

Tyus Jones 34 75 144 19.5% 4.2 215 29.4 0
Jordan Poole 33 73 125 27.7% 1.9 188 25.2 -18
Daniel Gafford 32 71 134 16.7% 2.1 164 21.3 -1
Corey Kispert 19 43 164 17.1% 3.6 233 18.4 6
Bilal Coulibaly 26 57 132 8.9% 0.9 77 8.0 -2
Delon Wright 13 30 118 19.3% 0.1 120 6.6 -4
Danilo Gallinari 16 36 120 21.4% 0.3 56 3.7 -7
Deni Avdija 23 52 41 16.0% -6.2 6 0.6 -10
Landry Shamet 8 18 0 12.7% -2.7 -146 0.0 -12
Kyle Kuzma 36 80 78 29.2% -8.9 -53 0.0 8

Stats & Metrics: Magic

Franz Wagner 38 86 141 24.1% 5.2 253 39.7 26
Anthony Black 33 73 123 21.7% 1.1 170 22.6 -2
Goga Bitadze 12 26 198 25.0% 5.3 337 15.9 -1
Paolo Banchero 38 86 100 29.8% -4.0 69 10.8 0
Jalen Suggs 29 65 91 16.6% -2.7 84 10.0 -1
Moritz Wagner 15 34 119 23.4% 0.3 106 6.6 -3
Cole Anthony 23 51 104 22.2% -1.3 64 5.9 5
Wendell Carter Jr. 21 48 109 12.0% -0.4 57 5.0 12
Gary Harris 19 43 107 6.5% -0.2 9 0.7 4
Caleb Houstan 12 26 0.0% 0.0 13 0.6 0