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Wizards blast Pacers with near-record shooting night

Stats, analysis and commentary

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards
Wizards guard Bradley Beal led the team to a win over the Indiana Pacers
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Everyone on the Wizards played well (outside of garbage time), and they rolled to a comfortable 14-point win over the Indiana Pacers.

Washington blitzkrieged the Pacers with a 72.0% effective field goal percentage — the second highest mark in franchise history. The highest was 73.6% in a 159-158 loss to the Houston Rockets on Oct. 30, 2019.

Their offensive rating (points scored per possession x 100) was merely the fifth best in franchise history, though it was the best of the 2022-23 season.

Literally everyone shot well other than the G-Leaguers who took the floor for the final three minutes. Kristaps Porzingis had the team’s worst efg — at 56.3%, which is good.

Weird but true: the game’s glacial pace (just 91 possessions) kept the score down to 127-113.

Also weird but also true: the Pacers had 17 offensive rebounds and 16 defensive rebounds. I’m sure this sort of thing has happened before, though I don’t recall seeing it. Part of that was Washington making so many shots. Part of it was Indy playing small lineups without good rebounders. Seems like the Pacers should get together with the Detroit Pistons in the offseason to swap perimeter players for players taller than 6-5.

Good Stuff

  • Beal was outstanding despite five turnovers. He shot 13-18 from the floor, 4-5 from deep, and had 6 assists. His offensive rating was 140 on a usage rate of 35.5%. And he even had some good defensive possessions.
  • With his mother in attendance, Monte Morris shot 7-10 from the floor, collected 6 rebounds, and dished 4 assists with just 1 turnover.
  • Even being defended by smaller players like the 6-5 Buddy Hield, Porzingis wasn’t exactly incorporated into the offense — just a 19% usage rate. But, he produced anyway (21 points produced on 12 possessions used), grabbed 10 boards and had 5 assists.
  • Deni Avdija had another good game — 16 points on 7-8 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists. I wouldn’t exactly say he played well defensively, but he was the team’s second least bad defender (Daniel Gafford was at the top).
  • That said, the only time the Wizards defense was better than league average was when Kendrick Nunn was on the floor.
  • Drew Gooden criticized the team when they coasted to start the third quarter and Indiana sliced into their lead.

Not So Good Stuff

  • The Wizards sprinted out to a 25-point first-half lead but let the Pacers creep back to as close as 11. Two silver linings: 1) they won, and 2) this is a pattern successful teams follow — get out a big lead and stave off attempted comebacks.
  • Too many turnovers. The Wizards had 16 in just 91 possessions — a turnover rate of 17.6%. Bright side: turnovers aren’t usually an issue for Washington.
  • Washington gave up 17 offensive rebounds. In general, this isn’t a problem area for the team. They’re 12th in defensive rebounding percentage for the season. Still, they play a twin towers lineup, which means they should be able to control the boards — especially against a tiny team like the Pacers.

Just Stuff

  • I managed to make it through an entire broadcast without commenting publicly on how bad it is. I tweeted nothing when Kispert drove for a wide-open layup and Gooden said he should have kicked it out to keep the defense on their heels. I sat on my hands he said threes are easier to make a comeback with than twos. What almost got me to break: when Chris Miller echoed Tommy Sheppard’s twaddle about the team having a high-powered offense and the only question was what they would do on defense. I mean, is it that difficult to pull up Basketball-Reference and see that Washington entered the game ranked 19th in offense and 14th in defense?
  • Also, I’m offering a prize of absolutely nothing to someone who can identify a single on-court thing Avdija has been doing since the team traded Rui Hachimura that he was blocked from doing by the presence of Rui Hachimura.

Check out the latest episode of the #SoWizards podcast with myself and Ron Oakes-Cunningham — Trade Deadline Interviews: Say less Tommy. Way less.

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: Pacers at Wizards

EFG 0.526 0.720
OREB 17 8
TOV 7 16
FTM 13 19
ORTG 124 139

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.

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.

+PTS = Tentatively dubbed “plus points,” this stat 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.

Note: I dropped points scored from the table because a) it’s easily available just about everywhere, and b) there’s a limit to the number of columns I could use in the tables.

Stats & Metrics: Wizards

Bradley Beal 31 59 140 35.5% 5.4 281 30.8 13
Kristaps Porzingis 32 61 179 19.1% 7.5 194 22.0 14
Monte Morris 27 52 154 21.1% 4.4 224 21.6 5
Deni Avdija 30 57 150 16.8% 3.4 171 18.0 16
Kendrick Nunn 22 42 135 19.9% 1.8 229 17.9 22
Corey Kispert 30 56 153 12.2% 2.7 147 15.4 9
Daniel Gafford 30 56 141 15.2% 2.3 120 12.5 4
Delon Wright 23 44 140 18.2% 2.0 128 10.4 16
Quenton Jackson 3 6 63 18.0% -0.5 0 0.0 -5
Anthony Gill 3 7 0 15.3% -1.1 -193 0.0 -7
Johnny Davis 3 6 0 31.6% -2.0 -251 0.0 -5
Vernon Carey Jr. 3 6 0 13.4% -0.8 -232 0.0 -5
Jordan Goodwin 3 6 0 30.2% -2.0 -441 0.0 -7

Stats & Metrics: Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton 35 67 138 23.3% 3.7 209 25.9 -17
Buddy Hield 30 58 134 19.9% 2.2 168 18.1 -9
Myles Turner 26 50 165 22.8% 5.7 150 13.8 -7
Isaiah Jackson 18 34 181 11.0% 2.5 140 8.9 -12
Chris Duarte 18 35 117 22.1% 0.2 92 5.9 -8
Oshae Brissett 7 12 315 5.7% 1.4 254 5.9 5
Bennedict Mathurin 31 59 108 24.7% -1.0 53 5.8 -19
Andrew Nembhard 20 37 100 17.0% -0.9 59 4.1 4
T.J. McConnell 21 40 110 20.7% -0.4 43 3.2 -12
Jalen Smith 8 16 67 29.4% -2.2 -74 0.0 -5
Aaron Nesmith 26 49 79 14.1% -2.4 -26 0.0 10