Final Score: Wizards 118 Spurs 125 (2 OT)
As great as double digit victories against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers were this week, great teams are judged by their play in tight games.
The Wizards played hard all night, but could not get past the perennially tough Spurs. In double overtime, San Antonio downed the Wizards, 125-118.
A loss is a loss, and this one may hurt more than the others, but John Wall and the Wizards have a lot to take from this contest as they took one of the NBA's very best teams to double OT.
The reigning Western Conference Champions gave Gortat and the Wizards a lot of trouble inside, taking control of the game in the second half while climbing back from a 62-48 halftime deficit. Tim Duncan was the catalyst, scoring 31 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 4:12 left in the second extra period.
There was plenty of drama in this one. Tied at 99 with 26 seconds left, the Wizards managed to get four consecutive stops to send it to OT.
Fifth-year reserve Patty Mills heated up in the first extra period, scoring 7 straight points to give the Spurs a 111-104 lead. The Wizards fought back, making tough shots to offset fouls to stop the clock. With only six seconds left, John Wall stole a Spurs inbounded pass and took it to the hoop, tying the game and forcing a second overtime.
The second extra period was all Spurs, however, as San Antonio held Washington to zero field goals. After all the Wiz magic of the first 53 minutes, it disappeared in the last 5.
John Wall led the Wiz with 29 points, adding 9 assists and 4 steals. Bradley Beal scored 19 points, and Trevor Ariza posted 15 points along with 10 rebounds.
The Wizards won the turnovers battle 20-15, but San Antonio outscored Washington inside the paint 56-46.
The loss drops Washington to .500 once again this season, at 24-24.
The Wizards' next game will be at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, February 7th. Tipoff at the Verizon Center is set for 7:00. -Jack Persons
3rd Q Update
San Antonio has made it a game. At the end of the three quarters, the Wizards lead the Spurs 83-82.
After heading into the locker room with a 62-48 deficit, they started the 2nd half with a 9-0 run to get back into the contest. They outscored the Wizards 34-21 in the quarter, thanks to 14 points by Tim Duncan. The Spurs also briefly took the lead, but Garrett Temple made a buzzer beater to give the Wiz a one point lead heading into the 4th.
John Wall leads the Wizards with 18 points and 7 assists, Bradley Beal has 14 points along with 5 rebounds, and Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat have each contributed 11 points.
Tim Duncan now has 25 points, almost all from inside the paint. The Spurs have scored 44 of their 82 points down low.
The Wizards have another chance to prove themselves tonight, and to get it done, they have to make stops in the paint during the last 12 minutes.
The "John Wall Show" ended after the first period. There were no heat checks whatsoever. In place of the "Wall Star" however, the bench took over.
At the half, the Wizards take a 62-48 lead over the San Antonio Spurs.
Trevor Booker scored 8 points in a row for the Wizards in the middle of the second, Kevin Seraphin added 6 this quarter off the bench, and Martell Webster has 5.
The starters have put in the work as well, with John Wall posting 14 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Bradley Beal added 10 points and 3 assists.
Tim Duncan currently leads the Spurs with 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting.
Both teams are shooting over 55% in the contest. The Spurs are at 55.6%, while the Wizards have converted 57.5% from the field.
Again, the big difference so far in the contest has been turnovers. Washington has forced 13 turnovers so far, while only committing 7.
Fourteen points is a very impressive lead against any team at the half, much less San Antonio, but the Wiz--specifically Nene and Gortat, need to solidify their presence in the paint. The Spurs have 22 of their 48 points in the paint, shooting 11 of 12.
The 14 point halftime deficit is the Spurs largest of the season.
For the Wiz Kids to send the Verizon Center fans home happy, the big men need to make some big stops inside.- Jack Persons
1st Q Update
John Wall is hot. Really hot. Because of him, the Wizards are currently running a clinic against the Spurs.
Through one, Washington leads 33-25.
Wall has put up 14 so far in the contest on 6 of 8 shooting, and has 3 assists to go along with it. Trevor Ariza added 7 and Marcin Gortat has 6.
More importantly, the Wizards managed to hold down the efficient Spurs starters down for the entire quarter. Patty Mills leads all San Antonio scorers with 6 points off the bench.
If the Wizards continue shooting over 60% for the game--they are currently at 61.9%--they will have no issues on their way to a win. That is unlikely to say the least, so their defense needs to be even better. They forced 7 turnovers in the first 12 minutes, creating 10 points off of those errors, and if they can continue to pressure the Spurs, they will have no trouble taking down another strong West team. - Jack Persons
Kevin Seraphin is certainly excited to face San Antonio tonight in a "huge game" as he called it on his instagram account.
Not only is Seraphin coming off a season-high 19 point effort on Monday night in a win against the Blazers, but the social media connoisseur faces three of his French national teammates tonight. Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando de Colo all play different roles on the Spurs, but their one common thread is the ability to speak the French language.
Even with the news that Trevor Booker will be back in the lineup tonight after missing Monday's game for personal reasons, Seraphin could still play a large role off the bench. The way he's been scoring lately will make it hard to keep him out of the rotation.
And speaking of bigs, the more notable matchup down low will likely be the Gortat-Duncan match on the post. The Wizards could use Nene on TD as well depending on what lineup the Spurs use, but Gortat is preparing to take on the future Hall-of-Famer.
He spoke with Casey Phillips before the game:
It's not just the front court that will get the attention, but there's a pretty good point guard battle again tonight between two All-Star reserves. John Wall and Tony Parker are two of the NBA's best at their position and are effective in different ways. While Parker is quick, nobody is quicker with the ball in his hands than Wall and he uses that explosiveness to terrorize opposing defenses. Parker is a master of the midrange game and has an array of ways to score around the rim. He shoots over 50% from the floor and is about as efficient as they come at the point guard spot.
Both the Wizards and Spurs have won two in a row, though the Wizards wins over the Thunder and Blazers have gotten a little more publicity due to their place in the standings. Another win tonight and the Wizards will have beaten the top three teams in the Western Conference over a five day period. Not too bad.
Randy Wittman spoke to the media before the game about the importance of limiting Tony Parker and how the Spurs are the model of consistency:
The Wizards continue on with game number three of their five-game home-stand tonight when they welcome the San Antonio Spurs to town.
After beating the Thunder and Blazers in their last two, tonight they look to complete the trifecta and take down the top three teams in the Western Conference over three consecutive games.
Although they've made it look fairly easy, beating the Thunder and Blazers by double digits, these are tough games to win and tonight will be another challenge with the Spurs on hand.
This will be game number two for the Spurs on their annual Rodeo Road Trip, which will take them almost 9,000 miles around the country and see them play nine straight road games.
The Wizards were routed by the Spurs back in November in San Antonio, but they know they are a different team now than they were then and will be looking to ride this momentum they've garnered over the past week into another home win over an elite team.
Temple on Spurs
Wittman on Spurs
The Wizards will get Trevor Booker back in the lineup after he missed Monday's game for personal reasons. The Spurs will be without both Kawhi Leonard (hand) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring).
Based on Marcin Gortat's Twitter account, it appears that he's looking forward to taking on one of the NBA's greatest power forwards of all time tonight.
Big game tonight! Big match up! Timi D! #biggame— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 5, 2014
Should be a good one.
We'll be back with more a little later in the day and then with you for pregame warm ups at Verizon Center.