The night ended with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich commenting on assistant coach Ime Udoka’s shoes, Spurs’ Stephen Jackson informing the media of his dinner plans, the team releasing forward Josh Powell, the team picking up options on Kawhi Leonard and Cory Joseph; and Danny Green discussing how the Spurs are preparing for the opening season next week.
Yes, all of that happened in one night.
In their preseason finale, the Spurs used a dominant defensive second half to defeat the Washington Wizards 100-85 on Friday in the AT&T Center in a game in which the Spurs once trailed by as many as 13 points.
Following the media interviews, the team announced that it had waived Powell, and picked up the third-year options on Leonard and Joseph that will keep them in silver and black at least until the 2013-2014 season.
Tim Duncan, Jackson, Tony Parker, Leonard, Green, and Patty Mills all scored in double figures, but it was a tale of two halves as the Spurs’ defense was the fuel behind the offense that outscored the Wizards 26-2 in fast break points.
Here’s the rundown of the preseason finale.
First Quarter: Spurs 21, Wizards 25
Player of the quarter: Tim Duncan (16 points) and Leonard (11 points) combined for nine points in the first quarter even though the Spurs looked out of rhythm early in the quarter. At one point, the Wizards built an eight point lead as combination of A.J. Price and Trevor Booker continued to score from inside the paint. After a Leonard 4-0 run, the Spurs maintained the trail of four points.
Play of the quarter: Leonard had a back-to-back play sequence late in the first quarter. First, he drove through the Wizards and finished a layup using the Euro-step, and then he was the recipient of a Parker (14 points) alley-oop.
Second Quarter: Spurs 47, Wizards 50
Player of the quarter: After Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair struggled to defend the paint in allowing Jan Vesely to score 11 points and build a 13-point lead for the Wizards, Duncan and Parker returned to the game and helped trim the Wizards lead. By half Duncan and Parker had combined for 21 points, and what was even more interesting was watching Leonard be the third scoring option in the lineup.
Play of the quarter: On one play in the second, Parker used a spin move to evade two Wizards defenders and finish with the underhand lay-up. The play made Jackson (16 points) cheer from his seat and throw out his arm with his towel.
Third Quarter: Spurs 74, Wizards 66
Player of the quarter: After the third quarter got off to a slow start, it was a Danny Green (10 points) air ball that changed the momentum of the game. Green shot an air ball on a forced shot, and on the following possession he made a 3-pointer in transition. Green scored eight points the quarter and his team followed his lead as the Spurs reclaimed the game for the first time since the first quarter.
“We approached it (the game) like it was a regular season game,” said Green after the game. “We wanted to shake the rust off before the regular season starts.”
Defense – The team defense held the Wizards to 16 points in the third quarter and it propelled the Spurs to close the quarter on a 9-0 run and take an eight point lead into the final quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Spurs 100, Wizards 85
Player of the quarter: Carrying over the momentum from the third quarter, Jackson brought the same energy and production to the fourth quarter as the Spurs’ lead continued to grow while Jackson scored his 16th point of the game.
“With Gino (Manu Ginobili) out, it was my opportunity to be aggressive” said Jackson of his night in which he shot 50% from the field and visited the free throw line three times.
The Spurs would hold the lead for the remainder of the game as the starters played an abundance of minutes and Mills (10 points) began firing away in the final minutes.
The Spurs will open the regular season next week as they visit the new-look New Orleans Hornets on the road, then they’ll fly back home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder the following night.
The Blair-Bonner front court
When the second quarter started, the Spurs were only down 25-21 with Blair and Bonner manning the front court. When they were subbed out with less than eight minutes remaining, they were down 40-29. The Wizards outscored them 15-8 in a matter of about four minutes. You can’t read too much into these numbers since its preseason basketball, but when Vesely continued to score at will on Blair and Bonner, one could infer that this probably wouldn’t be a good lineup to use in future situations.
Locker room notes
· In his short post-game interview, coach Popovich mentioned “Ime Udoka’s shoes” as something that caught his attention.
· In the locker room, Jackson informed the media that he and Gary Neal were going to go eat at Pappadeaux after the game and he mentioned that his upcoming album will be released at a later date, but his single with Kevin Durant will be released on October 30th on Itunes.