In a game characterized by sloppiness in between spurts of inspired play, the San Antonio Spurs (9-8) overcome a sluggish start and earned its 21st straight home victory against the Washington Wizards (3-9) by re-discovering its shooting from behind the arc against its rusty, yet competitive visitors.
Bradley Beal (31 points and 7 rebounds) and Jerome Robinson (16 points and 5 rebounds) helmed the short-handed Wizards. San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray (11 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists), Patty Mills (21 points and 4 rebounds), and Lonnie Walker IV (16 points) led a balanced effort.
- Dejounte Murray returned from his scary ankle sprain and, while moving gingerly throughout his minutes, nailed his first shot.
- Washington’s allotment of healthy players had the equivalent of an Olympiad off between games.
- Murray’s shooting stroke from straight on looks consistently on-target.
- LaMarcus Aldridge’s lateral immobility and hesitancy closing out on open shooters must cost the team at least 8-10 points per game by this point.
- Keldon’s Kitchen: Early in the fourth quarter, Keldon Johnson fended off a certain Isaac Bonga layup at the rim and then converted a tough and-1 at the other end. Two-way greatness!
- One of Johnson’s early doppelgangers, Russell Westbrook, also returned to action and found some early success in the post against the much lighter Murray.
- Devin’s Deeds: Devin Vassell may be the latest perimeter player to embrace the corner three as a his weapon of choice. His beautiful rainbow three gave San Antonio its first lead at 29-26. His hot third quarter shooting single-handedly kept Washington at bay.
- Jakob Poeltl connected on a 16-foot jumpshot. He did!
- After Murray swished a wing jumper, Wizards analyst Justin Kutcher gushed: “He’s got quite a handle. He looks like Jamal Crawford. He trains with Jamal Crawford.”
- It feels like one or both of the Lopez brothers should have graced the Spurs roster at some point in their well-traveled careers.
- It’s encouraging to watch Lonnie Walker IV seek out contact on more of his drives. The persistent threat of the drive and an extra 3-4 points at the free throw stripe will give him some needed space for his jumpshots.
- I lost count of the number of times Washington recovered its own misses and followed them with made threes, but it had to have been more than a handful.
- San Antonio’s 6-3 road record would be the best one in the Eastern Conference. Their 2-5 home record, on the other hand, would be 3rd worst in either conference. Yikes.
- Washington surrounded Beal and Westbrook with a “who’s that” lineup (led by Jerome Robinson’s eight points). The Wizards grabbed a handful of offensive rebounds and nailed open looks to surge to a ten point advantage. San Antonio’s starting woes continued as they missed 13 of their first 17 attempts and had jarring hardships at the rim. Rudy Gay helped stabilize the Spurs offense and, following some ragtag play, the hosts closed the deficit to three.
- Gay’s contested three briefly tied the game to start the second period. San Antonio found more steady footing in the halfcourt and pushed the lead out to 40-35. Beal worked through an early eye injury to keep Washington close and helped reclaim the lead late in the second. A Westbrook free throw ended the low-scoring half with San Antonio up 48-47.
- Aldridge and Beal engaged in a tete a tete from the perimeter coming out of the break. A Robinson pull-up jumper tied things up at 61. Three smooth jumpers from downtown by Vassell and three buckets from Mills helped offset Beal’s onslaught of buckets. Rookie Cassius Winston picked up where Beal left off with impressive shotmaking. Mills closed out the frame with a four-point play to double the Spurs lead and make it 85-77.
- Long-time Spurs tormentor Westbrook asserted hinself early in the fourth and helped the Wizards shave the deficit. Murray supplied the Spurs with steady leadership and playmaking throughout the period. After an extended rest, Aldridge connected from the left block, and then stripped Lopez to initiate a break that resulted in a Walker IV acrobatic layup. A pair of successive Mills threes iced the game away.
For the Wizards fans perspective, visit Bullets Forever.
The Spurs visit New Orleans Monday evening to take on Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans at 8:00 PM CDT before returning for a five game homestand.