In a wild shootout with over 40 lead changes that came down to the final shot, the Spurs put away the Washington Wizards to win their second straight game to open the season 124-122. LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points and 9 rebounds), DeMar DeRozan (26 points) and Dejounte Murray (19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) led San Antonio, while Washington was paced by Bradley Beal (25 points and 11 assists) and rookie Rui Hachimura (16 points and 8 rebounds ) in the Spurs’ second consecutive home win to start the season.
- Trey Lyles made his second straight start and snagged several offensive rebounds early on. His teammates missed their first eight shots before Aldridge got things going with a 3-point play. All-Star Bradley Beal, in the absence of John Wall, assumed the playmaker role with eight points and two assists. The Spurs finished the first frame on an 11-4 run leading 30-26 with Aldridge’s 12 points and strong bench play.
- While Bryn Forbes’ outside shot seems to be bordering on automatic, Rudy Gay’s arsenal of midrange shots is also nearly as impressive, and he paced the Spurs bench with three straight makes. A deep three by Forbes FROM THE AT&T LOGO late in the shot clock pushed the Spurs to 45-40. Washington’s frontline of Hachimura and Thomas Bryant asserted itself with more physical defense and rebounding to erase a nine point deficit, and both teams went into the half tied at 60.
- A set of pick-and-pops from Murray and Bryn Forbes led to back-to-back Aldridge 3s, and it was encouraging to see Aldridge attempt the long shots confidently. Both teams traded blows from distance and the interior in a frenetic back-and-forth third stanza. Derrick White paired a late corner three with a charge drawn on Beal, while Jakob Poeltl added an unabated drive for an and-1 and putback to extend the Spurs lead to five. White crowned yet another high scoring quarter with a fadeaway jumper to give the Spurs a 92-90 lead.
- Davis Bertans applied his lessons learned in his San Antonio days, and when not converting nearly all of his 3-point shots, scored a dunk and lay-up when forced off the line. White countered with his own five point run. Lonnie Walker IV checked in for his first action of the season and poured in a runner. The difference between the two teams was never more than five throughout a well-played fourth quarter. DeRozan carried his team with clutch perimeter shooting. Forbes ably contested an Ish Smith drive to keep the Spurs ahead briefly.
- On the final possessions of this thrilling game, DeRozan drove through traffic for a knifing layup, while Beal was unable to convert on his drive.
- Murray’s ability to disrupt countless possessions with steals and deflections, as well as nab defensive rebounds and push the ball up the court quickly, saves so much precious time at the other end and is utterly breathtaking to watch.
- Beautiful Game moments: A Spurs fast break triggered by Marco Belinelli with an entry pass Gay, who whipped it to Aldridge for a layup and a 23-22 lead.
- The Wizards play-by-play announcer quipped partway through the second quarter “How many times has Belinelli been a Spur?” Wizards analyst Drew Gooden likened Murray favorably to former Spur George Hill and Jamal Crawford. The commentating team then spent part of the second half complaining about the music played on Spurs possessions.
- Spurs fans cheered warmly for beloved former wing Bertans, and to Pop’s chagrin, he contributed five 3-pointers to his team-leading total of ten.
- Journeyman guard Smith (19 points, 5 rebounds) joined the list of unheralded opponents over the years who have given the Spurs fits.
- The Spurs continued their home dominance against Washington with their 20th straight win in San Antonio against the Wizards.
- White and Murray shared the floor for the first time this season on the final defensive possession for the Spurs, where they combined to stop Beal on his game-tying attempt at the buzzer. White was credited with the block.
- Unofficial proclamation: the Loteria cards may just be the coolest giveaways in several years!
For the Wizards fan’s perspective, please visit Bullets Forever.
The Spurs complete their three game opening homestand on Monday night against Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:30 PM CT.