Okay folks, this one’s on me. In the first half, I was too busy arguing with a bank to do more than half watch. While I did, the Wizards ran out to a 20-point first-half lead and looked ready to coast home with a resounding win.
But...and I apologize for this...I started paying attention. When Damian Lillard hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the first half, and Washington responded with a crafty set play that got Monte Morris a bucket with 0.1 left on the clock, I was right there thinking positive thoughts about Wes Unseld Jr. and the coaching staff.
Then, when Anfernee Simons rained hellfire upon the hapless Wizards (actual footage of Wizards defenders below), I knew their only chance was for me to go pick a fight with my internet provider.
I admit I failed to overcome two probably scalable obstacles. First, my internet provider is excellent. I mean, sure I could have made something up or argued with the power company or cell phone service, but DAMMIT THEY’VE BEEN GOOD LATELY TOO. The second challenge was even tougher: MOD Pizza and those No Name Cakes.
I mean, when you have the chance to stretch out on the couch and witness the Wizards get dismantled by Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart and Trendon Watford, you gotta seize it!
I ate. I watched. The Wizards lost.
- Bradley Beal had a terrific scoring night — 34 points on strong efficiency in 32 minutes. There wasn’t much else to his game, but the scoring was special.
- Kristaps Porzingis dominated early, especially when he simply rose up and shot over much smaller defenders. Portland had no chance of stopping him until he started putting the ball on the floor to drive. No need for that — he’s 7-3 and a terrific shooter. If the team has a hypnotist, they should convince The Unicorn he’s Dirk Nowitzki.
- Corey Kispert make shots.
- Daniel Gafford was 4-5 from the floor and handed out 3 assists — just one off his career high.
- Chris Miller finally got something correct when he said JaVale McGee got robbed in the 2011 dunk contest.
Not So Good Stuff
- No one with the Wizards team — not the players, coaches, trainers or a security guard with a notepad and a pencil — seemed to notice that Simons was raining hellfire on them. From the opening middle pindown action, Portland set the tone. They’d fire the ball around the perimeter until Simons got a decent look, he’d hit the three. Lather-rinse-repeat. Simons was 6-7 from three in the third quarter.
- Beal got hurt. Again. Chris Miller seemed to think it was Beal’s calf. Looking at the TV footage, I thought he was using the Theragun on his left hamstring. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- For a franchise cornerstone, Kyle Kuzma was bad. Again. His usage was low (19.6%), but his efficiency was atrocious — a 104 offensive rating (league average is 114.1. In this game, Washington’s offensive rating was 124. Portland’s 133.
- Deni Avdija was horrendous — 0-8 from the floor with little defensive impact.
- The win streak ends at six.
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: Trail Blazers at Wizards
|FOUR FACTORS||TRAIL BLAZERS||WIZARDS|
|FOUR FACTORS||TRAIL BLAZERS||WIZARDS|
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
Stats & Metrics: Trail Blazers