Down 99-94 to the Wizards with 2:40 minutes left in the fourth quarter in Washington on Wednesday, the San Antonio Spurs were desperately seeking points as they had only scored 12 points in the quarter up to that point. Tim Duncan (31 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals) and Patty Mills (23 points, 6 rebounds) would provide the Spurs with those points as Mills made a 3-pointer and then Duncan made a 4-foot basket with the Spurs getting stops on the other end. The Spurs tied the Wizards at 99 and with Mills given the chance to end the game with an open jumper, he missed, and overtime would be needed.
After overcoming a first half deficit of 17 points and playing the entire second half without Tony Parker, who went down with lower back tightness by halftime, the Spurs were able to build a 7-point lead in overtime. The game looked like it was sealed as the Spurs held a 4-point lead with just 8 seconds remaining, but John Wall (29 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds) had other plans as the Wizards got the stops they needed and Wall scored 4 points in those last 8 seconds, to send the game into double-overtime with both teams tied at 115.
In the second overtime, with Duncan fouling out early, it was the Spurs’ role players who helped the Spurs close out the Wizards as the team defense made up of Mills, Marco Belinelli (14 points), Danny Green (22 points, 7 rebounds), Boris Diaw, and Tiago Splitter held the Wizards to 3 points in the overtime period, while Green, Mills, and Belinelli scored the 10 points in the period, as San Antonio made the successful comeback in double-overtime to defeat the Wizards 125-118.
Green’s defense on Wall
Setting aside his strong offensive contributions (5-of-11 from 3-point range), Green had his biggest impact on the game with his defensive effort. In the first quarter, Wall shot 6-of-8 from the field for 14 points. The Spurs made a switch for the remainder of the game, where Green became the main defender on Wall. From the second quarter to the end of the game, Wall shot 6-of-21 the rest of the way for just 15 points. Overall, Wall ended with 29 points on 29 shots. Green’s defense was evident especially late in the fourth quarter as on one play, when the Spurs needed a key stop, Green was covering Wall so well, he forced Wall to lose control of the ball, it went down to half court, and Wall was forced to take a near half court miss as the Spurs put together a successful defensive stop.
Duncan’s historical night
With Parker only playing half the game due to injury, Duncan was the lone member of the Spurs’ big three remaining. He put together a historical game as he became just the third player over the age of 37 to post a 30-point, 10-rebound, and 5-assist state line. Duncan made most of his damage scoring-wise in the third quarter with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. His dominant third quarter was important because it helped the Spurs comeback from being down 14 points at the half, and even take a 1-point lead at one point in the quarter. Even with a larger frontline of Nene and Marcin Gortat, Duncan still went vintage with most of his points coming from the low block as you can see from his shot chart.
The second overtime period was a prime example of just how cohesive the Spurs’ system runs even without its key players on the floor. With Duncan only playing a few seconds, the Spurs had Mills, Belinelli, Green, Diaw, and Splitter out on the floor to finish the game, and they did just that outscoring the Wizards 10-3. Mills provided 23 points off the bench with Manu Ginobili still out due to injury, and Belinelli scored 14 points shooting over 50%, as he made a critical shot late in the game. Across the board, the Spurs got contributions to help make up for the absent offense and defense of the missing Parker, Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard. Even with Parker going being put on the injured list at halftime, Nando De Colo started the second half and had a solid third quarter with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in his 9:32 minutes.
Who sits vs. Nets?
After the game, Spurs head Coach Gregg Popovich told the media Parker would definitely be out for the Spurs’ back-to-back game on Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets. When you look at the minutes as well, Green almost logged an entire game in his second game since returning from injury with 46:19 minutes, Duncan played 40:08 minutes at 37 years old, Belinelli played 38 minutes, and Splitter played roughly 34 minutes. With the Spurs already down three players due to injury, it’ll be interesting to see if Popovich rests Duncan or Green against the Nets Thursday.
Shannon Brown’s best shot Thursday
Shannon Brown played just 6:14 minutes on Wednesday and made his first field goal in a Spurs uniform with an outside jumper. Since Green returned to the lineup, it’s been difficult for Brown to get back on the floor, since Green can play the small forward spot, and with De Colo also playing fairly well as of late, it’s kept Brown looking more and more like his 10-day contract will last just those 10 days. Brown’s best opportunity to play major minutes and really show what he can do might possibly come on Thursday as Popovich could elect to rest players, or even if he doesn’t rest his players, he may be limiting their minutes from the previous night – which would give Brown a chance to play.
Where San Antonio Stands
· Regular Season: 36-13
· Road Record: 18-5
· Vs. Opponents with +.500 records: 17-12
· Rodeo Road Trip: 2-0
(All stats used via NBA.com/Stats)