The Wizards lost for the 7th game in a row, falling to the Detroit 96-87. I know that losing two in a row to a feckless team like the Pistons takes the heart from the even most rabid Wizards fan. It is a dark time.
Four factors: I am going to try and include this in all my recaps from now on. Via Basketball-Reference, Dean Oliver identifies in his book “Basketball on Paper” what he called “The Four Factors of Basketball Success”. Instead of calculating Oliver’s formula for each factor, I plan to use each factor as a springboard for a larger discussion:
- Shooting: While Detroit shot a paltry 40 percent from the field, the Wizards were even worse, shooting 38 percent. It was an ugly game with both teams shooting badly. However, the difference in three-point shooting was huge. The Wizards shot only 23.5% from beyond the arc, while the pistons shot a more normal 42.1%. Advantage: Pistons
- Turnovers: For all of the Wizards faults tonight, they were not as sloppy as the Pistons at holding onto the ball, only turning it over 10 times compared to the Pistons 16. And considering the Wizards scored 12 more fast break points then the Pistons, the Wizards needed every one of those turnovers to stay at all competitive. Advantage: Wizards
- Rebounding: Just like last night, the Wizards got killed in rebounding. The Pistons won the battle for the boards by 15 (!) rebounds. Worse, the Wizards gave up 19 offensive rebounds. In short, not good. Advantage: Pistons.
- Free Throws: For one of the first times this year, the Wizards were successful at getting to the line. Washington went 23 for 30 at the FT line. While Detroit shot a very good FT percentage, they still did not score more from the free throw line, going 16 for 20. Advantage: Wizards.
Overall: After the first quarter, there was not a moment in this game where I thought the Wizards were going to win. This game was not by any stretch of the imagination stolen from us. The Wizards did not take advantage of the comparative advantages they did have, turnover and free throws, and were massively dominated in all other facets of the game. It wasn’t as bad as last night, but it definitely wasn’t anything resembling a competitive NBA team.
- For me, the only silver lining of this game was Bradley Beal. Beal was not effective from downtown, going 0-4. For me, this made his performance even more impressive. Beal finished 7-16, scoring in a variety of ways other, including some driving layups, pull-up jumpers, and bank shots. It’s good to know he can contribute even when his three-point shot isn’t falling.
- We don’t know how long John Wall is going to be out, but one of the silver linings of him being out is that someone can establish themselves as a secondary creator that Wall can turn to. So far it’s been Crawford, but it looks like Beal has recently been giving him a run for his money.
- The only Wizard with at least 50% shooting was Emeka Okafor. While he had a good game, and did particularly well on the boards, it is very indicative of the Wizards efficiency problems that he is the only player that shot that well.
- Tip of my hat to Andre Drummond, who I am convinced will be in our “we could have had…” scenarios for years to come, Charlie Villanueva, who feasted on the Wizards off the bench, and the entire Pistons team, who absolutely embarrassed us these past two games. Don’t worry; we’ll get you back on our annual moral victory tour in the last 30 games of the season.