The San Antonio Spurs survived overtime against the surging Wizards, 146-143, putting an end to Washington’s eight-game winning streak while extending their own to three in the process.
DeMar DeRozan paced the Silver and Black with 37 points and ten dimes, closely followed by 25 points and a career-high 17 boards from Dejounte Murray. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with a game-high 45 points.
- If basketball gave out a triple-crown to the guard with the most blocks, charges drawn, and shots contested, Derrick White would compete for that honor every season. Although that achievement holds some hyper-specific parameters, the fourth-year ball-handler leads all backcourt players across those categories since the All-Star Break. The Colorado alumnus furthered padded his résumé in the second quarter as he put his body on the line to draw a charge on a driving Russell Westbrook.
- Derrick White turned his ankle in the third period and never returned to the court. San Antonio’s defensive stalwart missed a total of 24 games earlier this season and might see another extended absence. He walked off the floor with some assistance from his teammates, though he could hardly put any pressure on his ankle without wincing in pain. Hopefully, White can make a speedy recovery well before the Spurs head into the play-in tournament.
- Keldon Johnson always plays with a head full of steam, and the second-year forward perfectly timed a thunderous put-back jam midway through the final frame. It was highlight worthy of being immortalized as an NFT, so don’t be surprised if you see a brand new digital Big Body collectible on the NBA Top Shot market soon.
- DeMar DeRozan has scored the fifth-most point in the clutch this season, yet somehow scouting departments haven’t figured out their team NEEDS to double team DeMar DeRozan NEEDS in crunch time. San Antonio put the ball in their leading scorer’s hands, the Wizards relied on a lackluster single coverage, and DeRozan made them pay with one of his signature midrange jumpers. Washington didn’t make the same mistake on the final play of the fourth quarter, which ultimately resulted in overtime.
- Excluding a gorgeous drop-off assist on a DeMar DeRozan rim-rocker, Patty Mills was quiet for most of the night. The veteran point guard came alive down the stretch, nailing a pair of clutch three-pointers to keep San Antonio on pace with the Wizards in their high-scoring back-and-forth affair.
- Gorgui Dieng checked into a game that wasn’t already in the middle of garbage time for the first time since San Antonio blew out the second-place Suns nearly two weeks ago. While it could be a sign head coach Gregg Popovich has decided to tinker with the rotation, a mixture of Jakob’s foul trouble and Drew’s subpar first-half play probably explains how Dieng earned minutes earlier than usual. Although the buyout market signee didn’t leave a lasting impression, he rattled home a three-ball.
- Rudy Gay bounced back from his recent string of poor performances with 17 points, four rebounds, a block, and an assist off the bench on 6-of-11 shooting in 20 minutes. Of course, his return to the lineup meant the inevitable benching of Luka Samanic, though that isn’t an issue when he plays this well.
- The Magic number for San Antonio coming into tonight was eight. Any combination of eight Spurs wins and Pelicans losses ensures them a spot in the play-in. While the Silver and Black came away with a last-second dub, the Pelicans were on their way to blowing out the Clippers by the time their tilt with the Wizards ended. Regardless, fans can bump that magic number to seven.
- Bradley Beal torched the Spurs for 13 points in the first quarter, and his hot start set the tone for the rest of the contest. The three-time All-Star put his extensive offensive repertoire on display, showing San Antonio why he’s the NBA’s second-leading scorer this season. The undersized two-guard dropped 45 points at a 54.1% clip, but his incredible effort wasn’t enough to carry his team over the hump.
- Dejounte Murray was also cooking in the opening frame, scoring 10 points on a flawless 5-of-5 performance from the field. His intensity was tangible, and it felt like he was everywhere on the floor. He stuffed the stat sheet to a tune of 25 points, a career-high 17 rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
- The Silver and Black improved to 19-3 when they make as many or more threes as their opponents. San Antonio only hit six three-balls, but their perimeter defense held the Wizards to six triples. Cold shooting from beyond the arc won’t usually get the job done against legitimate NBA competition, though you’ll probably win quite a few games when you shoot 53.4% from the floor.
- DeMar DeRozan picked up the 26th double-digit assist game of his career, which is an astounding feat considering 13 of them have come during this season. The smooth swingman has improved his facilitating skills every offseason, and he now ranks in the top ten in assists per game after dishing out ten helpers versus the Wizards.
- Anthony Gill came into the evening averaging 1.7 points per game, and the 28-year-old rookie nearly octupled his typical output with 13 points in 14 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting. Some random fringe player always seems to explode against the Spurs, but San Antonio mostly held him in check in the second half.
- Despite battling foul trouble from the first tip, Jakob Poeltl continued his renaissance from the free-throw line, going a more than respectable 4-of-5 at the charity stripe. The shot-blocking center has hit 77.4% of his foul shots since the beginning of April.
- For all the flack Russell Westbrook gets for being a supposed inefficient stat-padder, the former MVP remains one of the most entertaining players in the NBA. His 9-of-26 night won’t do much to silence his haters, but it’s incredible how effortlessly he stuffs the stat sheet. With 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists, Westbrook logged his 30th triple-double of the season. And while it doesn’t mean much when you lose, that is a mindblowing number when you consider the runner-up in that category “only” has 15.
For the Wizards fans’ perspective, visit Bullets Forever.