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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Washington Wizards

The Silver and Black look to begin the back half of the Rodeo Road Trip with a victory against a struggling Wizards squad.

NBA: Washington Wizards at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

With the All-Star break in the rearview mirror for the San Antonio Spurs, they’ll look to pick back up where they left off, heading into the back half of the Rodeo Road Trip with a record of 3-2 thus far.

Their matchup against the Washington Wizards will be the final contest between the two ball clubs this season, with the first game landing in San Antonio’s favor, 116-99. Fast-forward nearly three months later, and these two squads couldn’t be on more different trajectories.

Washington comes into Friday’s game looking nothing like the squad that burst out of the gates to begin the season. The Wizards have moved on from Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell, adding Kristaps Porzingis but losing Bradley Beal for the remainder of the year in the process.

San Antonio enters the contest riding the duo of Devin Vassell and first-time All-Star Dejounte Murray. The Spurs are 3-1 since promoting Vassell into the starting lineup, with their lone loss coming in a narrow defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls. Vassell has scored at least 14 points in three of his four starts, and he’ll look to maintain that momentum.

Meanwhile, Mureay has put the finishing touches on what has been a five-star entrée of a month. He has averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 boards, and 10.7 assists per game this February, playing the best basketball of his career while carrying San Antonio to success on the Rodeo Road Trip.

San Antonio Spurs (23-36) at Washington Wizards (27-31)

February 25, 2022 | 6:00 PM CST

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

Spurs Injuries: Tre Jones (Day-to-Day — Knee)

Wizards Injuries: Bradley Beal (Out — Wrist), Kristaps Porzingis (Day-to-Day — Knee)

What to watch for:

  • How will the Spurs look after the nine-day hiatus? A recurring theme this season has been the Silver and Black’s inconsistency from game to game. After starting this year out as a 4-13 ballclub, you can break this group down into four-game sample sizes. They lose three, win one. They win four in a row and follow it up by losing four straight. If you made this season into a ride, Six Flags should seriously consider bringing it to the park in 2023. In all seriousness, the Spurs may have a chance to close out their 2021-22 chapter strong. With the 15th toughest schedule ahead of them and only 12 contests remaining at the AT&T Center, Friday night could be the start of a play-in push from the good guys. The Spurs are right at .500 over their last ten games, and with a mediocre opponent in front of them, we’ll see if the young Spurs can pick up where they left off a week ago.
  • Can San Antonio take advantage of a limited Wizards offense? No team in the NBA makes fewer shots from three-point land than the Wizards. Washington also relies on transition scoring, pick-and-roll scoring, and spot-up shooting for the bulk of their offense. The Wizards don’t rank higher than the 58th-percentile in each of those categories. This lackluster offense should play right into the hands of a struggling Spurs defense that has allowed over 114 points per game over their previous ten contests. Look to see if the Silver and Black can find a groove and dominate this matchup on the defensive end of the floor.
  • Could this game be a preview of the Guard rotation to expect to close out this season? Right now, there’s no clear direction for the Spurs outside of handing plenty of touches to Dejounte Murray on the offensive end. After trading for Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford despite Josh Primo and Tre Jones itching for more opportunity, Friday night’s matchup could be a preview of what San Antonio’s guard rotation will look like going forward. Several guards are waiting to play in the Alamo City, and there is no definitive answer as to who will receive regular minutes. This situation has a long-term outlook, but I would be watching closely to see who Coach Pop calls to be the first two guards off the bench on Friday. Maybe that will tell us who has the keys off the bench for the remainder of the year.

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.