Recap: Westbrook’s 21 rebounds and 24 assists lead Wizards to 154-141 win over Pacers


The final margin was deceptively close to 13 points, but the result was never in doubt in the second half, and the Wizards clinched a 154-141 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

The win put the Wizards within half a game of the Pacers for 9th place in the East, which would give Washington the edge in the league play-in tournament. They are also within striking range for the 8th.

The story of the match was Russell Westbrook, who dominated the match from start to finish taking just 8 shots from the ground. He finished the game with another triple-double – 14 points, 21 rebounds (a new career high) and 24 assists (tying the franchise record).

These types of performances are rare for Wizards fans. This is what the production of an MVP candidate looks like. If Westbrook were able to play like this all season, the team would have a lot more wins, and yes, he would be a realistic candidate for the NBA’s MVP.

What appears to be merging for the Wizards over the past month is something that should scare the daylights out of potential playoff clashes. At Westbrook there is someone who produces at the All-NBA level, and at Bradley Beal a quality “second star” playing like an All-Star.

After those two, they have an array of capable to semi-skilled players and specialists like Davis Bertans, Raul Neto, Ish Smith, Rui Hachimura and the three-headed center rotation of Alex Len, Robin Lopez and Daniel Gafford.

The Wizards still have significant roster issues. But two stars – one of whom plays at an elite level – plus role players are probably enough to get them through the play-in tournament and into an interesting first-round match.

Tonight, the Wizards kicked off an exhausted Pacers squad despite a poor game from Beal due to Westbrook’s remarkable play and high-quality contributions from the rest of the squad.

  • Hachimura – 27 points, 7 rebounds; 12-19 from the ground
  • Chandler Hutchison – 13 points on 7 shots
  • Ish Smith – 13 points on 8 shots
  • Gafford – 15 points on 7 moves, plus 3 blocks in just 15 minutes

Another note: this game was played at a ridiculously fast pace – similar to the NBA of the 1960s. The Pacers had 107 field goal attempts; the Wizards had 103. Teams had 119 possessions, which is downright gonzo. Keep this pace in mind as I write about running Westbrook on my Era Translator machine.

If you are a truly dedicated Wizards fan and need to worry, worry about the team’s defense, which was still bad. They have been better in defense than in attack this season, and their defensive performance improved during the winning frenzy. To demote this late in the season would not be a welcome development.

Below are the four factors that determine who wins and who loses in basketball – shot (efg), rebound (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), foul (free throws made).

I simplified them a bit. Although the factors are usually presented as percentages, this is most useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers for each category are easier to understand.

PACE matches possessions per 48 minutes.

Pacers at Wizards

EFG 0.561 0.655
OREB 15 9
TOV 18 16
FTM 21 19
PACE 119
ORTG 119 130

Below are the Player Production Average (PPA) results from last night’s game. PPA is my overall production metric, which attributes players to the things they do that help a team win (scoring, bouncing, playing, defending) and hurting them for the things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls). PPA is a per possession statistic that includes defense and role accounting. In PPP, 100 is the average and more is better.

The table below is sorted based on each player’s total contributions to the game.

POSS is the number of possessions each player had on the floor in this game.

PPA assistants

Russell westbrook 39 96 250 21
Chandler Hutchison 16 41 344 -9
Rui Hachimura 31 78 176 20
Ish smith 18 43 250 -3
Daniel Gafford 15 38 232 -2
Raul neto 24 59 148 13
Alex len 17 42 142 17
Bradley Beal 37 92 55 14
Robin lopez 16 39 103 0
Davis bertans 27 67 56 -4
Cassius Winston 0 0 0 -2

Pacers PPA

Domantas sabonis 43 107 150 -20
TJ McConnell 31 77 152 8
Aaron Holidays 25 63 188 11
Oshae Brissett 26 65 91 -15
Edmond Sumner 16 40 131 -ten
Justin vacation 35 87 58 -9
Caris LeVert 38 94 31 -16
Kelan Martin 0 0 0 -2
Doug mcdermott 25 62 -8 -12

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