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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards

Can the Spurs win back to back games for the first time this season?

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San Antonio Spurs v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

For the first time in 16 days, the San Antonio Spurs reveled in the sweet taste of victory after defeating the Boston Celtics on Friday night. The win snapped their six-game losing skid, their longest of the season.

With successful late-game execution and the perseverance to bounce back after giving up a 24-point first-half lead, San Antonio finally has a performance they can look back on and draw from down the line should they find themselves in a similar situation.

Now with their eyes set on their next opponent, the challenge doesn’t get any easier as they welcome the third-place Washington Wizards, a surprise Eastern Conference contender that has exceeded expectations 20 games into the season.

Coached by first-year playcaller Wes Unseld Jr. and led by three-time All-Star Bradley Beal, the Wizards have taken advantage of their favorable schedule. The veteran additions of Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, and Kyle Kuzma have Washington eight games better than they were a year ago at this point.

San Antonio has to be encouraged by solid outings from Derrick White and Keldon Johnson against the Celtics after struggling with offensive consistency this season. From Keldon’s double-double to Derrick White stuffing the stat sheet, hopefully, each player can use their performance as a launching pad towards unlocking new heights of their game for the remaining 64 games this year.

The Spurs will come into the final matchup of their four-game homestand as a three-point underdog, but they’ll have a shot at overcoming the odds and defeating another playoff-caliber team on Monday night.

San Antonio Spurs (5-13) vs. Washington Wizards (13-7)

November 29, 2021 | 7:30 PM CST

Watch: Bally Sports SW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins (Out — Ankle), Doug McDermott (Questionable — Knee), Devin Vassell (Questionable — Quadriceps)

Wizards Injuries: Thomas Bryant (Out — Knee), Rui Hachimura (Out — Personal)

What to Watch for:

  • It’s no secret San Antonio thrives off fastbreak opportunities. The Spurs enter Monday’s contest averaging 14.1 fastbreak points per game, which is good for sixth in the NBA. Interestingly enough, this game will be a case of strength against strength as the Wizards allow the second-fewest fastbreak points in the league. Keep an eye on who wins the battle on the open floor because it’ll likely determine who walks away with a dub.
  • Despite winning on Friday, San Antonio once again stumbled from three-point land. The Spurs have drained just 33.8% of their three-point attempts this season and have taken the fewest long-range shots in the league. Not only do the Wizards allow the eighth-lowest three-point percentage in the NBA, but they also allow the second-fewest attempts from deep. San Antonio’s combination of low-volume and inefficiency from beyond the arc isn’t a recipe for success in the modern NBA. It’ll be worth noting how the Spurs combat playing a defense that thrives off of limiting San Antonio’s biggest strength and weakness.
  • The Spurs haven’t won consecutive games this season, and momentum has rarely been on their side through the early goings. Sometimes you witness the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to development, but that’s part of the process when going through a rebuild. After a huge win that ended in a 15-0 run to seal the deal, San Antonio’s young core must show the ability to reset and refocus for their next opponent. Stacking back-to-back victories against playoff-caliber competition could be a massive confidence booster and a measuring stick for how good this team can be for the rest of their schedule and where they could go in the not-so-distant future.

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.