The Wizards returned home for the final leg of their four games in five days set and had a playoffs-style game with the Atlanta Hawks. There were postseason stakes on the line — the Hawks currently sit eighth in the East; the Wizards 10th. And Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis said the team was viewing it as a playoffs game.
Washington didn’t play badly, but they lost anyway because they couldn’t contain Trae Young (28 points on 14 shots, as well as 10 assists and 3 steals) or Bogdan Bogdanovic (14 points on 7 shots, plus 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals).
The lost despite outshooting the Hawks (63.9% to 60.0% effective field goal percentage) and finishing about even on the boards. What ultimately cost them the game: turnovers and free throw differential. Washington had 17 turnovers to Atlanta’s 11 and made 14 free throws to the Hawks 20.
Interestingly, the Hawks were whistled for one more foul than the Wizards.
The turnovers were from the usual suspects — Bradley Beal had 5, including a costly travel with 18 seconds left in the game, and Kyle Kuzma had 4. Deni Avdija chipped in 3, and Delon Wright and Daniel Gafford had two each.
Beal has shot the ball well (on high volume) in clutch situations this season (game score within 5 points in the last 5 minutes of the game) but he’s committed a whopping 6.7 turnovers per 100 possessions in the clutch as well. For context, this season’s league leader in turnovers is Russell Westbrook — at 6.7 per 100 possessions.
The two teams face each other again Friday night in DC.
- The Atlanta Hawks were defenseless against Kristaps Porzingis and his ability to stretch the floor. Porzingis hit 17-22 from the floor and 7-10 from deep en route to a game-high 43 points.
- Kyle Kuzma’s had a crummy last few weeks, but he delivered a strong performance last night — 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Better: he shot 10-15 from the floor, 2-7 from three, and 3-4 from the free throw line, and his defense wasn’t bad. His offensive rating was a strong 126 on 26.7% usage.
- Delon Wright came up with 3 more steals.
- Corey Kispert scored on consecutive 45 cuts in the first half. (A 45 cut is from the wing into the paint. It’s usually done to initiate an empty-side pick-and-roll, but Kispert got open in the lane both times.)
Not So Good Stuff
- Beal had some good moments, including some nifty playmaking (8 assists), but he shot just 8-19 from the floor, missed both his threes, and committed 5 costly turnovers.
- Deni Avdija played one of his worst games of the season. He threw up bricks (1-6 from the floor), wasn’t close on his three three-point attempts and committed 3 turnovers. His defense was kinda okay some of the time, and he grabbed 8 rebounds. The Wizards were outscored by 14 points with him on the floor.
- Corey Kispert is a good shooter and cutter who does almost nothing else to help the team win games. Last night — 4-6 from the floor, 2-4 from three, and 1 rebound in 32 minutes. He posted zeroes for assists, steals, blocks and turnovers. His usage rate was an anemic 6.9%.
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: Atlanta Hawks at Washington 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. 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
Stats & Metrics: Hawks