The open shots that fell so easily for the San Antonio Spurs in
the first half were bouncing off the rim and the collapsing defense
was suddenly on top of them.
San Antonio was out of energy and emotion, which is usually when
coach Gregg Popovich turns to Manu Ginobili for a boost. Ginobili
is no longer the only player giving the Spurs a jolt of enthusiasm
and showmanship off the bench.
Six Spurs scored in double figures, led by Tony Parker with 16
points, and San Antonio never trailed in strolling to a 92-79
victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Boris Diaw had 15 points, Kawhi Leonard added 13 points, and
Ginobili and Marco Belinelli each had 10 for San Antonio, which has
trailed for only 11 seconds in its last four games. Tiago Splitter
had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Martell Webster scored 21 points, Bradley Beal added 19 points
and John Wall had 14 points and eight assists for Washington, which
has lost three straight.
Wall left the game after being raked across the face by Jeff
Ayres under the basket. Wall’s right eye immediately began to swell
and was puffy at the bottom and outside following the game.
San Antonio had 28 assists, with 17 coming from its reserves,
including a season-high eight by Belinelli.
”When you have a team like that, not just the first group, but
the second group plays the exact same way and third group plays the
same way,” Beal said. ”So, it’s really tough when you have a team
like that who is capable of just moving the ball, passing the ball,
cutting every second; and not getting tired on top of that. That’s
a great team.”
After the starters exploited defensive mismatches early in the
game, the second unit of Ginobili, Belinelli, Diaw, Ayres and Patty
Mills put on a passing clinic late in the third quarter to keep the
Spurs unbeaten at home.
”I was very happy about that,” Ginobili said. ”The unit that
started the third quarter was beginning to wind down on energy. We
talked about it with Pop and he asked us to bring it back up, play
with more emotion, push the ball and be more aggressive. It really
worked out in the end.”
After trailing by double digits since early in the second
quarter, the Wizards got within 60-57 on a 14-foot, turnaround
jumper by Webster with 3:27 left in the third.
San Antonio’s second unit regained the edge, with Ginobili
hitting a layup high off the glass over three defenders and
consecutive 3s by Belinelli and Mills to put the Spurs ahead 68-57
with 1:44 left in the third.
”After 60-57, we came down and took six of the worst shots you
could possibly take,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ”Six.
It might be more after I look at the film. Zero or one pass. All of
a sudden, we’re going to play hero. We can’t do that. We don’t have
a hero here. We got to play with five guys.”
The Wizards need only look to the Spurs to see how to share the
After dribbling the ball into the frontcourt, Belinelli fired a
pass through the lane to Diaw past several unsuspecting defenders
for an open layup.
Belinelli, who signed as a free agent after playing with the
Chicago Bulls last season, was 2 for 2 on 3-pointers and doubled
his season high in assists.
”I think offensively the last two or three games he has really
looked comfortable,” Popovich said. ”Pump-faking, getting his
shot off, finding open people while he’s dribbling the ball. He’s
working hard on defense, so I think he’s fitting in really
Popovich emptied its bench with about 6 minutes left in the
The third unit continued the ball movement, with Nando De Colo
picking up two assists in 8 minutes. De Colo drove to the basket
and flipped a no-look, two-foot pass to fellow Diaw under the
basket for a tip-in layup.
The Spurs held a double digit lead for all but about 15
Leonard scored San Antonio’s first eight points, first rising
over Trevor Ariza for a short jumper off the glass and then
draining consecutive 3-pointers.
The Wizards started 2 for 12, having their shots blocked as many
times as they went in over the first 7 minutes.
Wall rallied Washington, scoring three consecutive baskets and
running Mills down from behind to block an attempted fast-break
NOTES: San Antonio wore camouflage uniforms in honor of its
Military Celebration Night. The jerseys were auctioned and
autographed by each player after the game with all the proceeds
going to the team’s Silver and Black Give Back program. … Spurs F
Matt Bonner missed the game with tightness in his left calf. …
Wizards forwards Otto Porter (right hip flexor) and Chris Singleton
(fractured left foot) both sat out the game. … Ariza left the
game late in the first half after straining his right hamstring
while attempting to run down Leonard on a fast break. Ariza
gingerly walked toward Washington’s bench after grabbing Leonard’s
arm from behind to prevent a layup. … The Wizards have not beaten
the Spurs since a 99-89 victory Dec. 11, 1999, in San Antonio.