The Spurs aren’t exactly reeling, even though they’re coming off their 6th loss in a row. While they continue to fall behind big to start what feels like every single game, they once again showed the fortitude to make it a contest, nearly stealing yet another win in the process. Gregg Popovich summed up the issues with San Antonio’s current formula after the loss and what needs to happen for them to get back to their winning ways:
Pop: “Well, we’re doing two things consistently. We’re offering up 10-15 points a game to start and getting in a hole. And then we’re doing a great job of digging ourselves out and getting back into games. If we can cut out the former, maybe we can get back on the winning track.”— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) November 19, 2019
They have a chance to break both those poor starts and the longest losing streak they’ve had since 2011 in the nation’s capital tonight against a Wizards team that is also struggling. San Antonio has already won against Washington this season, a 124-122 victory in the second game of the season.
San Antonio Spurs (5-9) at Washington Wizards (3-8)
November 20, 2019 | 6:00 PM CT
Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: (none)
Wizards Injuries: John Wall (Achilles — OUT), Ian Mahinmi (Achilles strain — OUT), Jordan McRae (illness — DAY TO DAY)
Keys to the Game
- Will we see a starting line-up change tonight? - It is no great secret that the Spurs’ starting line-up has struggled to begin the year. As noted by CharlieOCharles, with both teams playing all 5 of their starters on the floor, the Spurs have a net rating of -15.7, a horrendous mark that is among the worst in the league. A change is clearly needed and there are no shortages of options. The most likely substitution one may expect to see would be to swap Trey Lyles with Jakob Poeltl, a move Pop has gone to after half-time of each of the last two games. Will that happen tonight?
- More DeMarre Carroll, please! - DeMarre Carroll has been glued to the bench for much of his brief tenure in San Antonio up to this point, but he came in during the 4th quarter of the Mavericks game and gave the Spurs some great minutes that helped them get the lead down into single-digits. In 8 minutes of playing time, he made a 3-pointer, grabbed 3 boards (1 offensive), had 1 steal, and played some of the sort of hard-nosed defense that has helped to earn him the nickname, “the Junkyard Dog.” His performance against Dallas should have only helped his case for more playing time.
- Checking in on the Wizards - At 3-8, the Wizards are dead-last in the Eastern Conference. Though they are currently ranked 2nd in Offensive Rating (113.2), they (along with San Antonio) are near the bottom of the league on the defensive end of the floor, giving up 115.2 points per 100 possessions. In their first match-up of the season, they almost came away with a win in San Antonio, largely due to a 5/5 night from outside in what was former Spur Davis Bertans’ return to San Antonio after being traded this summer. Bertans contributed to a Wizards’ team that was able to outshoot the Spurs from beyond the arc 16 makes to 10. The Spurs were able to dominate the paint in that matchup, holding a 62-46 advantage there while also crashing the offensive glass like they’ve done all season (11.7 ORB, 2nd).
Vegas odds: Spurs -1.5, O/U 239
For the Wizards fans’ perspective, visit Bullets Forever.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.