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Gameday Preview: Spurs vs. Wizards

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (44-9) vs. WASHINGTON WIZARDS (14-37)

TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Manu Ginobili 18.1 Tim Duncan 9.3 Tony Parker 6.7
WIZARDS Nick Young 17.6 Andray Blatche 8.1 John Wall 9.0

The Washington Wizards will try to avoid an 11th straight loss to the San Antonio Spurs when the teams meet tonight at the Verizon Center in Washington. The Wizards snapped their eight game losing streak with a 100-85 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks with six players scoring in double figures.

Nick Young scored 26 points in the team’s latest win, while JaVale McGee had 16 points and 17 rebounds. The Wizards improved to 14-12 on their home floor but remain win-less on the road.

The Spurs boasts the league’s best record, but had a terrible time scoring last night in a 77-71 loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. San Antonio had their four-game winning streak snapped as they shot a season-worst 33.3 percent from the floor, including a 3-17 from beyond the arc. Their 71 point output is also their lowest of the season.

Manu Ginobili had eight points on 2-10 shooting from the floor and Tony Parker finished with nine points on 3-10 field goal shooting. While his teammates struggled, Tim Duncan recorded his 19th double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. It was the Spurs’ first loss of the season where Duncan had a double-double.

The Wizards have averaged 82.8 points during their 10-game losing streak against the Spurs. They haven’t defeated San Antonio since a 110-95 home victory last November 12, 2005. 

Hit the jump for the keys of the game and find out which team will win this matchup.

KEYS TO THE GAME

SPURS:

Offense — The Spurs are coming from a bad shooting night, to avoid another back-to-back loss, they have to make sure that their offense is right on target. Entering this game, five Spurs players are averaging double digits. They also have one of the deepest bench in the league.

Defense – The bulk of Wizard’s offense comes from their backcourt, it will be key for the Spurs to contain Young, John Wall and Kirk Hinrich on the offensive end. Controlling the rebounds will also be important for the Spurs. 

WIZARDS:

Offense — The Wizards have enough firepower, Young has been playing well lately, Wall is getting his teammates involved, and Blatche and McGee can both score on the inside.

Defense — Limit Tim Duncan inside the paint, guard the Spurs’ perimeter shooters and cover Ginobili, Parker, Hill and Jefferson’s dribble penetrations.

INJURIES

Spurs — Antonio McDyess – jammed right thumb (probable), Matt Bonner – marrow edema (day-to-day), Tiago Splitter – strained hamstring (day-to-day)

Wizards — Nick Young – knee (day-to-day), Al Thornton – dislocated finger (day-to-day), Yi Jianlian – ankle (day-to-day) Josh Howard – knee (out)


PREDICTION:
The Spurs lost a “grind-it-out” type of game at the hands of Sixers, they will try to get back to the win column against a Wizards team that is looking for moral boosting victory against one of the league’s best team. 

Since this is a second night of a back-to-back, it will be important for the Spurs to match the home team’s energy from the get go. The team that controls the boards and plays better defense will win this game. Coming off a surprising loss, expect the Spurs to bounce back and should win this game 98-81.

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