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Uneven effort dooms Spurs in loss to Wizards

Highlights from San Antonio’s loss to Washington.

Washington Wizards v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs had a chance to secure their third-straight win, against the Washington Wizards. Uneven play for the entirety of the game ultimately caught up with them in the fourth quarter, when Washington secured a 118-113 win.

Similar to their last game agains the Wizards, it was a sloppy affair where both teams turned the ball over 15 or more times. The Wizards outscored the Spurs 66-50 in the paint, and out-rebounded them 45-36. Daniel Gafford owned the interior, putting up 16 points and 13 rebounds (8 of them offensive.)

San Antonio was led by Devin Vassell, who carried the offense in stretches. Vassell ended the game with 24 points and 4 assists on 9-19 shooting from the field.

The two-man game with Vassell and Victor Wembanyama found success early. The pick and roll with those two players has become one of the Spurs go-to plays.

Vassell has gotten much better as a rim finisher this year. He’s converting on 69% of his attempts at the rim this season. Here he powers through two defenders for the tough and-1 finish.

Vassell has gotten much better as a cutter, too. These backdoor cuts will become easy buckets for him as he continues to gain the reputation of a high-level shooter. This season the wing is scoring 1.65 points per possession on cuts, good enough for the 95th percentile in the NBA. He’s scored 58 points on cuts this season.

Blake Wesley provided a spark off the bench for San Antonio. He finished the game with 7 points and 3 steals. This steal in the back court leading to the corner three was electric. This type of effort makes a young player hard to leave on the bench.

Wesley was pestering ball-handlers all night. A couple more plays like this from the entire team and the Spurs might have found themselves on the winning-end of this one.

It wasn’t one of Wembanyama’s best games, but he still finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Gafford did a good job of getting physical with the rookie and not allowing easy looks inside. Here we see Wemby go through Marvin Bagley III. Even in tough games, Wemby still makes his way into the highlight tape.

What’s the saying? “One or two things a game that you’ve never seen before.” Snatching a ball out of mid air with two hands would certainly qualify.

Pushing the ball ahead to Wembanyama is a good way to make things happen offensively. We’ve seen this a few times this season. Even if he doesn’t get the dunk, he will draw defenses in, and open up looks for his teammates. This is an extreme example of that sort of play.

His efforts aren’t likely to show up in the highlight reel, but Cedi Osman had his best game of the season, leading the Spurs bench unit. The veteran had 20 points and 2 steals in the loss. He went 4-6 from three, after struggling from deep over the last few games.

San Antonio will look to bounce back when the Orlando Magic come to town on Wednesday.

Check out full game highlights below.