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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards

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The San Antonio Spurs look to start off the new year with a win over a very good Washington Wizards team.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs Washington Wizards

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
January 3, 2015, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

After a mostly awful month of December, the San Antonio Spurs were able to close it out with a thrilling overtime win versus the New Orleans Pelicans. They'll look to carry what momentum they gained in that victory forward in their next game, coming against the Washington Wizards.

John Wall, the Wizards' 5th year All-Star point guard, is having his best season yet as a pro. He's averaging 17.4 points per game on a career-best .458 from the field. More impressive than Wall's scoring, though, is how much he's improved as a floor general. He leads the league in assists per game, with 10.3. His speed gives him an advantage in pick-and-roll, forcing big men to come out higher on him, giving big men like Nene and Marcin Gortat the ability to play 2-on-1 once the pass is made to the roll man. San Antonio's defensive rotations must be on point so they can dig down on the big men and then close out on shooters.

Washington bases their game on their great defense. Their energy is always at a high level, reading opponent pick-and-rolls, reacting, communicating, and rotating quickly. They don't force a ton of turnovers, but there's always someone pressuring the ball, and they close out well on shooters. It's not the prettiest thing to watch, but the Wizards force tough shots and don't give up second-chance points.

When playing a defense as good as the Wizards', it's important to keep the ball moving from side to side. This is so the defense will constantly be in motion, rotating back and forth, giving the offense more opportunities to break it down. Usually, the Spurs are very good at doing this. However, with Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard out, two of their best ball-handlers have been out. Manu Ginobili and Cory Joseph have been solid in their stead, but the ball movement has stagnated at times. The offense will hinge on their performance versus Washington.

The Spurs come into this game well-rested, having a couple days off after their win versus New Orleans. Washington is on a SEGABABA following a tough loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. If this game ends up being as competitive as it should be, the Spurs having fresher could wind up being a key advantage.

@

Washington Wizards (22-10)

San Antonio Spurs (20-14)

January 3, 2015

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

7:30 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

John Wall

PG

Cory Joseph

Bradley Beal

SG

Danny Green

Paul Pierce

SF

Marco Belinelli

Nene

PF

Tiago Splitter

Marcin Gortat

C

Tim Duncan


For the Wizards' perspective, please visit Bullets Forever.

Game prediction: Spurs by 2.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com