2021 Playoffs: East First Round | 76ers vs. Wizards

Numbers preview: Sixers (1) vs. Wizards (8)

Breaking down deep stats that could shape the series between Philadelphia and Washington.

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

The Wizards scored 12.5 more points per 100 possessions with Bradley Beal on the floor than they did with him off the floor.

The title picture appears to be wide open in both conferences. But the Philadelphia 76ers look very much like a No. 1 seed, going 27-5 with their starting lineup and finishing the season with the league’s second-ranked defense. And for the first time in the last four years, the Sixers enter the postseason with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons healthy. Their first-round matchup is a team that gave them a little bit of trouble early in the season and made a mad dash toward the 8 seed late. The Washington Wizards are seemingly playing with house money, though with a backcourt earning more than $70 million a year, anything less than a playoff berth would have been a major disappointment.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for 1-8 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more. Game 1 is Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on TNT.


Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions


Philadelphia 76ers (49-23)

Pace: 100.1 (12)
OffRtg: 112.5 (13)
DefRtg: 107.0 (2)
NetRtg: +5.5 (5)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

vs. Washington: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Sixers notes – General:

  1. Had the third biggest differential between their record against the 15 teams that finished at or below .500 (33-6, 0.846) and their record against the 15 teams that finished above .500 (16-17, 0.485).
  2. Were the league’s second best first-quarter team (+13.1 points per 100 possessions).
  3. Were a league-best 25-9 (.735) in games that were within five points in the last five minutes.
  4. Were 4.4 points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break (+7.7, second) than they were before it (+3.3, eighth). Only Minnesota (+6.3) and Dallas (+5.0) saw bigger post-break jumps.

Sixers 2020-21 shot profile

 Area FGM FGA FG% Rank %FGA Rank
Restricted area 1,138 1,802 63.2% 19 29% 20
Other paint 565 1,256 45.0% 7 20% 7
Mid-range 466 1,029 45.3% 3 16% 7
Corner 3 248 598 41.5% 7 10% 10
Above-break 3 564 1,564 36.1% 14 25% 26

%FGA = Percentage of total field goal attempts

Sixers notes – Offense:

  1. 25.6% of their points, the league’s second highest rate, were fast break points (13.4%, third highest) or second chance points (12.2%, seventh highest).
  2. Averaged 19.2 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game, according to Synergy tracking. That ranked just 16th in the league, but was up from 14.7 (29th) last season. Their 67.3 ball-screens per game ranked 17th and were up from 54.1 (28th) last season, according to Second Spectrum tracking.
  3. Saw the league’s biggest drop in the percentage of their field goals that were assisted, from 62.8% (eighth) last season to 57.2% (23rd) this season. Still ranked fourth in total ball movement (350 passes per 24 minutes of possession).
  4. Ranked ninth offensively in the first half of games (115.1 points scored per 100 possessions) and 20th in the second half (109.7). Only two teams (Denver and New York) saw a bigger drop-off.

Sixers four factors

 Own/Opp. eFG% Rank FTA Rate Rank TO% Rank OREB% Rank
Own 54.1% 14 0.293 1 14.3% 20 27.7% 8
Opponent 52.1% 3 0.262 25 15.4% 2 26.3% 14

eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained

Sixers notes – Defense:

  1. Tied for the league lead with 9.1 steals per game and ranked second with 16.5 deflections per game.
  2. Switched just 8% of ball-screens, the league’s third lowest rate, according to Second Spectrum tracking.
  3. Allowed 14.3 fast break points per game, second most in the league.
  4. Ranked second in clutch defense, allowing just 97.5 points per 100 possessions with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Sixers notes – Lineups:

  1. Starting lineup – Simmons, Curry, Green, Harris and Embiid – played 656 total minutes, second most in the league. It’s 20.5 minutes per game were the highest average among 346 lineups that played in at least 10 games together. It outscored opponents by 215 points, the best cumulative plus-minus (by a wide margin) among all lineups and by 14.0 points per 100 possessions, the sixth best mark among 30 lineups that played at least 200 minutes. It allowed just 103.7 points per 100 possessions, also the sixth best mark among those 30 lineups.
  2. Outscored their opponents by 15.5 points per 100 possessions with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid both on the floor. That was the fifth best mark among 154 two-man combinations that played at least 1,000 minutes together. Embiid and Seth Curry had the sixth best mark (+15.2), while Embiid and Tobias Harris had the ninth best (+12.1).
  3. The Sixers were 11.9 points per 100 possessions better with Embiid on the floor (+12.0) than they were with him off the floor (+0.1). That was the fourth biggest differential among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.

Sixers notes – Individuals:

  1. Seth Curry shot 90-for-185 (48.6%) on catch-and-shoot 3s, the sixth best mark among 227 players who attempted at least 100.
  2. Curry had an effective field goal percentage of 64.5% in wins and just 42.9% in losses. That was the biggest differential among 197 players with at least 150 field goal attempts in both wins and losses this season. The Sixers were 24-2 when he had an effective field goal percentage of 58% or better and 15-16 when he didn’t.
  3. Joel Embiid ranked fourth in the league in scoring, averaging a career-high 28.5 points per game. He was the league’s leading second-quarter scorer at 7.8 points per game.
  4. Embiid led the league in usage rate, using 35.2% of the Sixers’ possessions (via field goal attempts, turnovers or trips to the line) while he was on the floor. He drew 8.5 fouls per 36 minutes, most among 404 players who played at least 300 minutes.
  5. Embiid led the league with 12.3 post-ups per game, according to Second Spectrum tracking. His 1.08 points per possession on post-up possessions ranked fifth among 30 players with at least 100 total, according to Synergy tracking.
  6. Danny Green led the league with 90 corner 3s. The 43.9% he shot on corner 3s ranked 20th among 60 players who attempted at least 75
  7. Tobias Harris took just 22.5% of his shots from 3-point range, down from 30.4% last season. That was the ninth biggest drop among 110 players with at least 500 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons. He still saw a jump in effective field goal percentage (from 52.7% to 55.6%), shooting much better from both mid-range (44.4%, up from 34.7%) and 3-point range (39.4% vs. 36.7%).
  8. Dwight Howard ranked third in total rebounding percentage, grabbing 22.8% of available rebounds while he was on the floor. He ranked third in offensive rebounding percentage (14.8%) and second in defensive rebounding percentage (30.9%).
  9. Howard’s 19.7 turnovers per 100 possessions were the highest rate among 345 players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game. His 6.0 fouls per 36 minutes were the most among 351 players who played at least 1,000 total minutes.
  10. Howard had an effective field goal percentage of 59.6%, down from 73.5% last season. That was the biggest drop among 250 players with at least 200 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons. Shake Milton saw the sixth biggest drop (from 58.8% to 50.3%).
  11. Furkan Korkmaz accounted for 42.6% of the Sixers’ 3-pointers while he was on the floor, the fourth highest rate among 362 players who played at least 500 minutes.
  12. Milton saw the fourth biggest drop in 3-point percentage (from 43.0% to 35.0%) among 202 players with at least 100 attempts in each of the last two seasons.
  13. Ben Simmons ranked sixth in steals per game (1.6) and fifth in deflections per game (3.5).
  14. Simmons (93-for-151, 61.6%) and Harris (103-168, 61.3%) were two of the six players who shot better than 60% on at least 150 field goal attempts in transition.
  15. Howard (69.3 attempts per 100 shots from the field), Embiid (61.0 per 100) and Simmons (49.2 per 100) ranked first, third and eighth in free three rate among 250 players with at least 300 field goal attempts. Green (7.4 per 100) ranked 247th.
  16. Matisse Thybulle led the league in both steals (2.9) and deflections (5.6) per 36 minutes. The differential between opponent field goal percentage on shots he defended (37.2%) and expected field goal percentage on those shots (45.0%) was the second biggest among 298 players who defended at least 300 total shots.

How much of a threat can the Wizards be against the 76ers?

Washington Wizards (34-38)

Pace: 104.7 (1)
OffRtg: 110.7 (17)
DefRtg: 112.3 (20)
NetRtg: -1.6 (22)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

vs. Philadelphia: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Wizards notes – General:

  1. Saw the league’s sixth biggest jump in winning percentage (+0.125) and its 10th biggest jump in point differential per 100 possessions (+2.9) from last season.
  2. Played five of the six fastest-paced games in the league this season, including the second fastest-paced game (May 3 vs. Indiana) in the 25 years for which we have play-by-play data. Won seven of their eight fastest-paced games of the season.
  3. Were the worst first-quarter team (-6.0 points per 100 possessions) among the 20 that qualified for the playoffs or the Play-In. Were outscored by 128 total points in the first quarters of games, and by only four points thereafter. Were +2.9 per 100 in the first quarter (14th) as over their 17-6 stretch to close the regular season.
  4. Ranked 28th in time of possession (19.9 minutes per game).

Wizards 2020-21 shot profile

 Area FGM FGA FG% Rank %FGA Rank
Restricted area 1,178 1,766 66.7% 9 27% 25
Other paint 721 1,508 47.8% 2 23% 2
Mid-range 476 1,188 40.1% 20 18% 3
Corner 3 185 514 36.0% 25 8% 27
Above-break 3 548 1,562 35.1% 20 24% 30

%FGA = Percentage of total field goal attempts

Wizards notes – Offense:

  1. Saw the league’s biggest jump in points in the paint per game, from 45.6 (24th) last season to 52.8 (fifth) this season.
  2. Took only 31.9% of their shots, the league’s second lowest rate, from 3-point range. 79% of their 3-point attempts, the league’s second highest rate, were catch-and-shoot attempts. Their 6.1 pull-up 3-point attempts per game were the fewest in the league.
  3. Led the league with 25.1 transition points per game, according to Synergy tracking. Took 18% of their shots, the league’s highest rate, in the first six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking, though they ranked just 26th in effective field goal percentage in the first six seconds (58.7%).
  4. Were one of two teams – Milwaukee was the other – that ranked in the top 10 in player movement (11.5 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession, seventh), but in the bottom 10 in ball movement (323 passes per 24 minutes of possession, 21st).

Wizards four factors

 Own/Opp. eFG% Rank FTA Rate Rank TO% Rank OREB% Rank
Own 53.1% 20 0.288 3 13.7% 16 25.0% 24
Opponent 53.9% 15 0.277 28 13.9% 15 26.4% 16

eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained

Wizards notes – Defense:

  1. Saw the league’s third biggest drop (-2.4) in points allowed per 100 possessions, from 114.7 (29th) last season to 112.3 (20th) this season.
  2. Ranked 26th defensively (113.2 allowed per 100) through Mar. 6. Then ranked seventh (110.5) as they went 17-6 to close the regular season.
  3. Opponents took 16% of their shots, the league’s highest rate, from mid-range (between the paint and the 3-point line). Allowed 21.5 points per game, the league’s third highest opponent mark, from pick-and-roll ball-handlers.
  4. Ranked second in charges drawn per game (1.13).

Wizards notes – Lineups:

  1. Most-used lineup played only 134 total minutes, second fewest among the most-used lineups for the 20 teams that reached the postseason. It included Mo Wagner, who was traded in March. Their next two most-used lineups (91 and 90 minutes) each included Deni Avdija, who is out for the season.
  2. From the time that Raul Neto became a starter (Apr. 19), the Wizards outscored their opponents by 16.5 points per 100 possessions in 224 minutes with Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal and Neto on the floor together, but were just +0.8 per 100 in 147 minutes with Westbrook and Beal on the floor without Neto.
  3. The Wizards scored 12.5 more points per 100 possessions with Beal on the floor (114.6) than they did with him off the floor (102.1). That was the fourth biggest on-off differential for offensive efficiency among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.
  4. The Wizards averaged 107.2 possessions per 48 minutes with Westbrook on the floor. That was the highest on-court mark among 345 players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game.

Wizards notes – Individuals:

  1. Bradley Beal ranked second in the league in scoring for the second straight season, averaging a career-high 31.3 points per game. He took just 27% of his shots, the lowest rate of his career, from 3-point range.
  2. Beal ranked third in usage rate, using 33.1% of the Wizards’ possessions (via field goal attempts, turnovers or trips to the line) while he was on the floor. He accounted for 34.3% of the team’s shots while he was on the floor, the highest rate among 362 players who played at least 500 minutes.
  3. Davis Bertans took 89.5% of his shots, the highest rate among 250 players with at least 300 field goal attempts, from 3-point range. He led the league with 6.8 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts per game. The 40.8% he shot on catch-and-shoot 3s ranked 31st among 86 players who attempted at least 200. He accounted for 48.3% of the Wizards’ 3-pointers while he was on the floor, the highest rate among 362 players who played at least 500 minutes.
  4. Daniel Gafford blocked 3.4 shots per 36 minutes, third most among 362 players who played at least 500 minutes.
  5. Gafford shot 153-for-219 (69.9%) in the paint, the third best mark among 177 players with at least 200 attempts in the paint.
  6. Rui Hachimura allowed just 0.63 points per possession on isolations, the third best mark among 86 players who defended at least 50, according to Synergy tracking.
  7. Robin Lopez scored 1.23 points per possession on post-ups, the best mark among 29 players with at least 100 post-up possessions. His 61.4% on non-restricted area paint shots was the best mark among 121 players who attempted at least 100.
  8. Ish Smith passed on 60.1% of his drives, the third highest rate among 130 players who averaged at least five drives per game.
  9. Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the fourth time in the last five seasons. His 11.5 rebounds per game (sixth in the league) and 11.7 assists per game (first) were both career-high marks.
  10. Westbrook assisted on 47.7% of his team’s buckets while he was on the floor. That was the highest rate among 345 players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game. He led the league with 34 clutch assists.
  11. Westbrook ranked last in both points per possession (0.78) on isolations (minimum 100 possessions) and points per possession (0.71) as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (minimum 300 possessions).
  12. Beal and Westbrook ranked second and fourth (tied) with 150 and 131 points scored in the clutch (score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime), respectively. Westbrook shot 48-for-97 (49.5%) on clutch shots, while Beal shot 47-for-99 (47.5%). Those marks ranked eighth and 13th among 33 players who attempted at least 50.
  13. Hachimura & Westbrook two of 14 players with at least 200 shots from outside the paint and more mid-range attempts than 3-point attempts. Hachimura shot 39.6% from mid-range, while Westbrook shot 38.1%. Those marks ranked 54th and 64th among 78 players with at least 100 mid-range attempts.

How far does Philadelphia need to advance in the playoffs to consider the season a success?

Regular season matchup

Sixers won season series, 3-0

Sixers 113, Wizards 107 (Dec. 23 @ Philadelphia)

Sixers 141, Wizards 136 (Jan. 6 @ Philadelphia)

• Sixers 127, Wizards 101 (Mar. 12 @ Washington)

Pace: 107.2 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes
Philadelphia OffRtg: 118.3 (9th vs. Washington)
Washington OffRtg: 107.2 (14th vs. Philadelphia)

Total points scored, season series

Area PHI WAS Diff.
Restricted area 86 78 8
Other paint 70 48 22
Total in paint 156 126 30
Mid-range 50 52 -2
3-point range 111 111 0
Total outside paint 161 163 -2
Free throws 64 55 9
Fast break points 48 57 -9
2nd chance points 23 32 -9

Matchup notes:

  1. Ben Simmons missed the third meeting for the Sixers. The Wizards had Thomas Bryant (who played in only 10 games this season) for the first two meetings and didn’t have Daniel Gafford or Chandler Hutchison for any of the three. Rui Hachimura missed the opening-night meeting.
  2. This was the fastest-paced series that the Sixers played. The first two games were within five points in the last five minutes. The Sixers scored 31 points on 23 clutch possessions (with Simmons and Joel Embiid combining to shoot 8-for-10), while the Wizards scored just 15 on 20 (with Bradley Beal shooting 2-for-8 and Russell Westbrook committing three turnovers).
  3. The Sixers’ 141 points on 110 possessions (128.2 per 100) on Jan. 6 was their fifth most efficient game of the season. Their effective field goal percentage of 72.8% on Jan. 6 was their highest mark of the season and their 18-for-29 (62%) from 3-point range was the fifth best mark for any team in a game this season. Embiid’s 38 points on Jan. 6 were the fifth highest scoring game against the Wizards this season.
  4. Beal’s 60 points on Jan. 6 were tied for the second most for any player in a game this season. They’re tied for the second most for any player in a loss since 1993.
  5. Seth Curry’s effective field goal percentage of 69.7% was the fourth best mark among 95 players with at least 25 field goal attempts against the Wizards this season. Embiid (65.6%) and Shake Milton (64.7%) had the 10th and 13th best mark, respectively. Milton’s 56 total points against the Wizards were his highest total vs. any opponent this season.
  6. The Sixers won the first quarter in all three games and by a cumulative score of 95-65, with the Wizards scoring those 65 points on 81 possessions (80 per 100).
  7. The Wizards outscored the Sixers’ starting lineup, 47-21, on opening night. It was a +7 on Jan. 6, but the cumulative -19 for the Sixers’ regular starting lineup was its worst mark vs. any opponent this season.
  8. The Wizards’ two most-used defenders on Embiid — Bryant and Mo Wagner — are no longer on the team. Gafford has played just 14 career minutes against the Sixers and has matched up with Embiid for just 19 seconds. (Embiid missed a 3.)
  9. Simmons guarded Westbrook (58.4 partial possessions) a lot more than he guarded Beal (6.1). Danny Green was the primary defender on Beal, though Matisse Thybulle defended him quite a bit as well. Beal shot 13-for-21 vs. Green and 3-for-10 vs. Thybulle.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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