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Feeding The Hunger Within, Spurs Have To Dig Deep
San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards
11/26/12, 6:00 pm Spurs Time
TV: LP, FSSW,PRIME - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI, KFWB
The San Antonio Spurs take on the Washington Wizards tonight at 6:00 pm at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. The Wizards are coming off of two overtime losses against the the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Bobcats. The Spurs have recently beaten the Toronto Raptors in an overtime game of their own, and play their second game of a back to back.
Youth vs. Experience
The Washington Wizards are not as bad as their record indicates. Okay, zero wins is bad, no matter how you try to spin it. Yet, to Washington's credit, though the outcomes have been positively pestilent, they keep playing with passion, heart and desire. They are simply starving for an identity and a win.
Washington is a very young team. Their roster's average age is 26.27. With Nene returning from a lengthy plantar fasciitis infliction at 30 years of age, he’s tied with Emeka Okafor as the oldest member on the team. 26 year old A.J. Price has been filling the role of starting PG due to John Wall's knee injury. Rookie Bradley Beal, the 19 year old freshman phenom from Florida, has been thrust into the starting lineup for a crash course in playing the wing in the NBA. The Wizards have talent, and as fine wine gets better with age, they are in the beginning stages of the fermenting process where top quality fruit has been picked, but is far from producing a smooth texture and palatable taste. Ranking 30th in ppg, these young stars are at the bottom of the barrel in points scored amongst NBA teams.
Though the Wizards struggle to score, they are 8th in the league in defense. This has helped them keep games close, with only one blowout at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats on November 13th. Other than that 16 point defeat, contests have been contiguous affairs, losing by fewer than 10 points in all but 2 games.
At Dallas, they lost by only 6 points after being down by as many as 21 in the 3rd quarter. The Wizard also lost a close one in overtime to a very good Atlanta Hawks team. Their most recent game on November 24th was a heartbreaking, double overtime loss to the same Bobcat team that had blown them out eleven days earlier.
All this in mind, the Spurs may be in for a tougher fight than you'd expect against a team that's win-less this far into the season. This is especially true due to the a double overtime win over the Toronto Raptors yesterday, which saw many of the starters logging heavy minutes. Tonight's game is the last of a FOGASINI, and things don't get any easier for San Antonio, as it's also the second game of a FIGASENI that started yesterday! The youth of Washington, along with a hunger craving inside for a much needed first win, could result in one of those infamous "let down" games.
What do the Spurs do to prevent this from happening?
For starters, (literally), Duncan, Parker, Neal, Green, and whoever is the soup de jour at PF, will have to endure what probably will be an emotional start to the game from this opponent, while maintaining an elevated level of focus throughout. San Antonio has to be resourceful and not allow Washington to establish any belief that the Wiz have a chance at winning. Else, it could end up resembling a non-merciful feasting on weaker prey if the Spurs commence in a fatigued state. This is where a deep bench is most appreciated. Being able to spell veterans on a SEGABABA affords teams with such benches the ability to compete at a high level the following night.
However, with Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson sidelined with injury, the Spurs bench is more like a limited menu than a fine selection of availability from a choice restaurant. So, it’s not how deep they can go, but more, how spread out the roster can be and still produce success. One trick, if a trick is needed, may be to give the young Wizards too many options to digest. To back that up, an interesting perspective on how the Spurs could beat the Wizards regardless how weakened they may be in a b2b contest may have come from Washington’s head coach Randy Wittman starting at the 1:53 mark here.
Calling In The Reserves
Creating confusion to how the young Wizards adapt on the court could be accomplished by changing match ups during the course of the game. If able to do this, Washington’s youth may be prevented from getting into a comfortable rhythm and executing with precision. This would give the Spurs' young apprentices, mixed with precise, measured doses of the big three, opportunity to feed off easy looks and open shots. But unlike in Toronto, the Spurs reserves must produce better.
With that said, this game could easily go in either’s favor. Considering the circumstances, if the Spurs win, it will be another testament to how good San Antonio is more so than how bad Washington may be. And if the Wizards prevail, they’ll finally not only satisfy their hunger for a first win, but also get some dessert on the side as they achieved it against one of the top teams in the league. However, I like the Spurs chances in this game despite it being a back to back affair. They have seasoned vets, a hall of fame coach and past experiences of overcoming adversity on long road trips. The Wizards are too young and do not have enough experience, which should prevent them from winning their first game of the season against the Spurs.
Washington Wizards perspective can be found here.
Prediction: What else? Overtime. Spurs by 5.
Game Previewers Prediction Records & how many points off per prediction
Joe deLarios 5-0 (-1, 3, 5, 0, 1)
Wes Thorne 4-0 (-1, 0, 23,2)
Racm 0-3 (-25, -14, -5)
Stijl 0-1 (-12)
CapHill 1-0 (13)
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.