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Wizards thump Celtics and move into 11th

Stats, analysis and commentary

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards
Big man Kristaps Porzingis led the Washington Wizards to victory over the Boston Celtics.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Classic Wizards — missing three starters and having reached the point of the season where losing might help the franchise improve long-term — they come out and stomp the Boston Celtics, the second place team in the Eastern Conference.

Behind an overpowering game from Kristaps Porzingis, the Wizards took control early and didn’t relent. They led by 12 at the half, built their advantage to as much as 23, and glided home with a 19-point win after staunching a fourth quarter run by Boston’s surrender lineup that cut the lead to as little as 12.

Washington’s cause was helped by the Celtics doing their best to help America’s supply chain woes with an array of airborne construction supply deliveries from three-point range. For the game, they were 11-44 from deep — many of the misses coming on open and wide-open looks. In a “normal” game, they’d have hit five or six more, which might have changed the game significantly.

But, that’s why they play the games. The Celtics laid bricks and committed turnovers, the Wizards made shots and held onto the ball, and that was the difference.

Good Stuff

  • Porzingis wrecked a Celtics team that had been playing league-best defense in March. He took advantage of switches by rising up to knock down shots over smaller defenders — 14-21 from the floor and 3-5 from three-point range. He also dished 6 assists to zero turnovers.
  • Monte Morris was in his bag, as the kids say these days. He shot 9-15 from the floor and had 9 assists to zero turnovers. He had a steal and two blocks despite being the smallest guy on the floor during all non-Payton Pritchard minutes.
  • Deni Avdija turned in a fifth consecutive strong game — 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. He shot 10-16 from the floor and 2-5 from deep. The only mar was 4 turnovers. He even defended effectively without fouling.
  • Corey Kispert knocked down threes — 3-6 on the night.
  • It’s too early to truly classify this observation as “good,” but if it holds up it will be good so...the Wizards were good defensively with Johnny Davis on the floor. The defensive rating was 94 with Davis in the game — something that’s happened in three of the last four games. It might be nothing...but it also might not be nothing.

I’ll skip the “not so good stuff” for this one.

Standings/Lottery Odds Watch

The win pushes Washington into 11th place in the Eastern Conference but still two-and-a-half games behind the 10th place Chicago Bulls. With just six games remaining, reaching 10th is unlikely. Getting to 9th — currently held by the Toronto Raptors (which beat the Miami Heat last night) and with the same 38-38 record as the 8th place Atlanta Hawks — is improbable bordering on impossible.

The lottery is much more likely, and Washington would currently have the 8th best odds of landing the top pick. The Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz are actively tanking at this point. For those hoping the Wizards get the most ping-pong balls for the lottery, the Jazz are the team to worry about. They’re 9th and just a game-and-a-half behind the Wizards for 8th.

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: Celtics at Wizards

EFG 0.543 0.611
OREB 7 6
TOV 12 9
FTM 10 9
PACE 104
ORTG 107 125

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. 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 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 = “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.

Stats & Metrics: Wizards

Kristaps Porzingis 34 73 160 26.1% 8.7 338 45.2 26
Monte Morris 29 62 146 23.1% 4.4 302 33.9 25
Deni Avdija 37 79 116 26.0% 0.2 170 24.5 12
Corey Kispert 33 72 138 14.5% 2.4 104 13.6 14
Delon Wright 31 66 114 10.5% -0.1 98 11.8 21
Johnny Davis 23 50 94 15.7% -1.6 63 5.7 7
Jordan Goodwin 11 24 111 13.0% -0.1 108 4.8 -6
Kendrick Nunn 17 37 100 28.9% -1.6 67 4.6 -4
Anthony Gill 12 25 112 15.9% -0.1 85 3.9 7
Xavier Cooks 2 4 85 41.2% -0.6 0 0.0 2
Taj Gibson 12 26 97 20.2% -0.9 -22 0.0 -9

Stats & Metrics: Celtics

Jayson Tatum 32 69 117 32.1% 0.5 170 21.3 -10
Marcus Smart 30 65 156 13.8% 3.7 166 19.8 -10
Luke Kornet 9 20 168 25.6% 2.7 300 11.1 3
Malcolm Brogdon 23 50 118 19.1% 0.4 111 10.1 -14
Sam Hauser 9 20 135 18.8% 0.8 237 8.7 3
Grant Williams 26 56 103 17.0% -1.1 76 7.8 -1
Derrick White 24 52 103 12.4% -0.7 65 6.1 -20
Robert Williams III 15 33 99 5.9% -0.3 73 4.3 -14
Jaylen Brown 27 58 80 36.8% -7.4 22 2.3 -24
Payton Pritchard 9 20 83 27.0% -1.7 42 1.5 3
Mike Muscala 9 20 58 5.4% -0.6 -16 0.0 3
Al Horford 26 55 64 16.2% -4.5 -12 0.0 -14