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Wizards scrape for victory over Detroit Pistons

Stats, commentary and analysis

Washington Wizards v Detroit Pistons
Bradley Beal scored 32 points to lead the Washington Wizards to victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

Here’s what the Wizards need to keep reminding themselves about last night’s victory over the Detroit Pistons: a bad win is still a win.

Did the Wizards coast through the first half — and much of the second — as if they were they much better team and had a win sewn up? Yes. Were they actually the much better team going against a franchise engaged in strategic losing? Also yes.

And so on the third leg of a grueling four games in five days stretch of schedule, the Wizards had to work until the final buzzer to scratch out a win against a team employing people named Jared Rhoden (5 minutes of playing time last night) and Eugene Omoruyi (23 productive minutes). That’s instead of playing hard from opening tip, running up a big lead, and then resting The Big Three during the fourth quarter so they’d maybe have more energy against the Atlanta Hawks, who are just ahead of Washington in the standings.

Still, they won, which kept them 10th and just a game behind the Hawks for 8th. With the next two at home against Atlanta, the Wizards have an opportunity to move the seeding ladder — if they care to seize it.

Good Stuff

  • Bradley Beal played a high-efficiency, high-scoring game — 32 points and 7 assists with an offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) of 126 on 33.4% usage. He missed a pair of free throws late, but he scored effectively in the fourth quarter and did enough that he could even talk trash about besting Isaiah Livers.
  • Corey Kispert made just about everything he threw at the basket — 6-7 from the floor, 4-5 from three-point range.
  • Delon Wright had 6 assists, 5 steals and zero turnovers.
  • Jordan Goodwin was excellent in his 17 minutes — 6 points on 3-4 shooting, 6 assists to zero turnovers, and a block.
  • Kristaps Porzingis scored efficiently but fouled out — virtually all of them of the dumb reach and bump variety.

Not So Good Stuff

  • Despite starting two centers, the Wizards continued a trend of giving up productive games to opposing bigs. Last night, it was James Wiseman, who still barely knows how to play in the NBA but still went for 21 points on 10-13 shooting.
  • Jaden Ivey lit up Wizards defenders. Pistons coach Dwayne Casey is a wily veteran who called a play for Cory Joseph after Ivey scored or created scores on three consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. Their final play broke down when Livers wasn’t patient/skilled enough to get the ball to Ivey. He drove instead and got his shot blocked by Kyle Kuzma.
  • Overall, Kuzma was thoroughly meh. He scored 23 points, but his offensive production was inefficient, as usual (ortg of 100 in a game where the Wizards averaged 129 and the Pistons 126). He managed just 3 rebounds in 35 minutes, and his two assists were offset by 3 turnovers.
  • Deni Avdija made his shots (2-2 from the floor, 1-1 from three) and grabbed 5 rebounds in 21 minutes, but he committed four turnovers. Worse, he lost composure when the refs missed a call (Ivey inadvertently elbowed him in the nose while rising for a shot) and went on a binge of three fouls (two offensive) in less than a minute.
  • Taj Gibson and Kendrick Nunn seemed determined to play themselves out of the rotation. The team got torched in their first half minutes (-13 in Nunn’s 5 minutes; -5 in Gibson’s 4) and neither returned in the second half. When Monte Morris returns from injury, there’s little reason for either guy to get regular minutes.

Just Stuff

  • Eugene Omoruyi probably earned himself a second 10-day contract with his performance against Washington last night. If not, he put enough on tape to warrant a look from other teams and perhaps a more lucrative contract overseas.
  • Wiseman looked much better than he did when I last saw him play for the Golden State Warriors. His timing is still off — he ruined a couple dribble handoffs by giving Ivey the ball a beat early and had a couple turnovers with passes that would have been terrific a split second earlier. And his defensive processing is glacial. Still — give him credit for making some progress.
  • Ivey showed the makings of a quality NBA guard. He’ll need to continue working on his shooting, but the Wizards couldn’t stay in front of him, but he showed he could finish through contact and over size, and he handed out 12 assists. The wildness was still present — 5 turnovers and 5 fouls.

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 Pistons

EFG 0.654 0.589
OREB 9 10
TOV 14 11
FTM 13 18
ORTG 129 126

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

Bradley Beal 38 73 126 33.4% 2.8 233 32.6 2
Corey Kispert 32 62 235 9.4% 7.0 225 26.6 4
Delon Wright 32 62 123 9.3% 0.5 170 20.2 8
Kristaps Porzingis 32 61 143 27.3% 4.8 138 16.1 4
Kyle Kuzma 35 67 100 29.5% -2.9 111 14.3 6
Jordan Goodwin 16 32 185 14.5% 3.2 192 11.7 -4
Daniel Gafford 25 48 122 14.0% 0.5 84 7.7 2
Deni Avdija 21 40 103 17.6% -0.8 7 0.5 6
Taj Gibson 4 8 0 9.0% -0.9 -205 0.0 -5
Kendrick Nunn 5 10 0 14.9% -1.7 -199 0.0 -13

Stats & Metrics: Pistons

James Wiseman 34 66 138 20.9% 3.3 148 18.8 -10
Jaden Ivey 32 62 114 42.3% -0.2 147 17.3 -7
Cory Joseph 31 60 146 14.4% 2.7 151 17.3 3
Marvin Bagley III 29 57 137 20.3% 2.6 146 15.9 0
Rodney McGruder 30 58 187 6.8% 2.9 119 13.2 -3
Eugene Omoruyi 23 44 122 28.9% 1.0 158 13.2 3
R.J. Hampton 18 34 135 21.2% 1.5 139 9.0 2
Isaiah Livers 37 72 81 12.7% -3.1 11 1.6 2
Jared Rhoden 5 11 0.0% 0.0 0 0.0 0