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The Numbers Crunch: Wizards lose to Clippers

Stats, analysis, commentary.

Los Angeles Clippers v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly driving to the basket in the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The only important things from the Wizards loss to the Los Angeles Clippers were Bilal Coulibaly starting in place of Jordan Poole (non-COVID illness), playing 37 minutes with a usage rate of 19.9%, scoring 19 points and picking James Harden’s pocket.

Was the kid great? Nah. Overall, he was basically average. But he competed well against all-timers like Kawhi Leonard, Harden, and Russell Westbrook. The Wizards will take NBA competence from a 19-year-old in just the second start of his career.

As for the rest of the game, here’s the summary: the Wizards stayed close through two quarters, got smoked in the third (-21 in the period), and staged one of those phony garbage time “comebacks” to cut the final margin to a respectable 16.

Keep in mind that the Clippers were missing Paul George and Ivica Zubac.

This & That

  • Daniel Gafford had a decent game against LA’s fill-in center, Mason Plumlee. He shot just 2-5 from the floor, but grabbed four offensive boards, and blocked five shots — rare instances of Washington accomplishing something on the defensive end.
  • Marvin Bagley III had another strong offensive outing — 10 point and 7 shots, 3 offensive boards, and a couple of assists. His defensive presence was nonexistent.
  • In the first half, Kyle Kuzma seemed like he was on his way to a great game — 23 points on 15 shots, 2-4 from three-point range, 2 rebounds. In the second half, he could managed 4 points on 7 shots, had no rebounds, and committed 2 turnovers. For the game, he made little impact on defense and guzzled possessions at below average efficiency.
  • Deni Avdija’s left hand is a problem. When he could get to his right, he made plays. Unfortunately, the Clippers kept forcing him left. He ended the game with a 103 offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) on a 22.5% usage rate, and the team was -33 in his 26 minutes.
  • Tyus Jones was awful — 4 points on 2-9 shooting, 0-3 from three, 7 assists, and an uncharacteristic three turnovers.
  • The Clippers had active and amazingly accurate hands on the defensive end. Harden has been fairly maligned for his defense over the years, but he had two steals, four blocks, and a pair of deflections. Kawhi Leonard had four steals, a block, and a freakish nine deflections. The Wizards had nine deflections as a team.
  • The Wizards have a brutal stretch of games on the way. So far this season, Washington’s opponents have been about 0.4 points per game below average (using strength of schedule adjusted scoring margin). That’s about the level of a 40-win team over an 82-game schedule. Over the next 15 games, their average opponent is +3.0 per game — the level of a 48-win team. The next time my prediction machine has the Wizards favored to win: March 8 at home against the Charlotte Hornets.

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: Clippers at Wizards

FOUR FACTORS CLIPPERS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS CLIPPERS WIZARDS
EFG 0.530 0.510
OREB 18 12
TOV 8 13
FTM 19 10
PACE 101
ORTG 124 108

Stats & Metrics

Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score. 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. 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 114.8. 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 former Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified 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” 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

WIZARDS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Bilal Coulibaly 37 77 117 19.9% 0.2 100 16.0 -9
Daniel Gafford 22 47 128 15.3% 0.8 134 13.1 -16
Marvin Bagley III 18 38 147 20.1% 2.3 160 12.5 -10
Corey Kispert 27 56 130 18.5% 1.5 94 11.0 -13
Kyle Kuzma 29 61 111 32.5% -1.0 70 8.9 -11
Deni Avdija 26 55 103 22.5% -1.6 53 6.1 -33
Jules Bernard 5 11 227 11.1% 1.4 233 0.0 13
Anthony Gill 8 16 134 11.2% 0.3 155 0.0 10
Delon Wright 14 28 83 13.3% -1.2 -31 0.0 -11
Johnny Davis 12 25 65 13.6% -1.7 -56 0.0 11
Patrick Baldwin Jr. 12 26 61 23.4% -3.3 -74 0.0 7
Tyus Jones 29 61 66 19.2% -5.8 -37 0.0 -18

Stats & Metrics: Clippers

CLIPPERS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
CLIPPERS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Kawhi Leonard 30 63 135 33.7% 4.1 346 44.9 23
James Harden 33 68 142 24.9% 4.4 315 44.4 20
Amir Coffey 21 44 173 19.5% 4.8 261 23.6 15
Norman Powell 27 56 119 19.7% 0.3 134 15.6 14
Mason Plumlee 19 41 117 16.2% 0.1 127 10.7 23
Russell Westbrook 21 44 113 25.2% -0.4 115 10.5 10
Brandon Boston Jr. 27 57 111 16.5% -0.4 88 10.3 1
Terance Mann 31 64 115 9.3% -0.1 35 4.7 7
Daniel Theis 20 41 92 9.5% -0.9 19 1.6 -9
Kobe Brown 7 14 101 8.8% -0.2 44 0.0 -11
Bones Hyland 5 11 41 45.0% -3.9 -392 0.0 -13