“They scored whenever they wanted to, until we started playing defense in the second half.”
Those were the words of Washington Wizards point guard John Wall after his team was defeated Monday evening by the San Antonio Spurs 112-97 at the AT&T Center.
Wall (12 points) was right, the Spurs outscored the Wizards 63-49 in the first half, as the Wizards allowed the Spurs to dominate the paint and get to the rim at will. By the end of the night, the Spurs had outscored the Wizards 64-30 in the paint.
Before the game, Wizards head coach Randy Wittman spoke about what not to do when playing the Spurs. “From a physical and mental standpoint, we can’t have a lot of lapses,” said Wittman “this team will jump on that.”
The Wizards unfortunately didn’t listen to their coach’s message as they allowed Tim Duncan (14 points) and Tony Parker to combine for 17 points in the first quarter. The Spurs easily jumped on the Wizards 32-24 at the end of the first quarter.
“We just allowed them to get to the rim, time after time after time,” said Wittman after the game. The second quarter was an example of that as the Spurs were shooting 62% at halftime, and they lead by 13-points with Richard Jefferson making a buzzer beating three to end the half.
“Parker,” said Wittman after the game, “we had our hands full (with him), obviously he’s a tough cover.”
Parker gave the Wizards fits in the second half as he dominated the third quarter with 12 points alone in the quarter. Tiago Splitter (17 points) also got involved as he scored five points in less than a minute to send the Spurs with an 88-74 lead going into the final quarter.
“They pass the ball,” said Wittman after the game, “they move, I think Tony can create if need be and get anything.”
Parker did just that in the fourth quarter as he scored 10 points in the fourth to put the Wizards away. Parker finished with a game high 31 points and seven assists after his one-game absence. The Spurs as a team, recorded a season high 30 assists on the night.
“When they’re set, they’re one of the best defensive teams in the league.” Said Wall after the game.
The Spurs’ defense held the Wizards to 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Spurs went onto win by 15-points.
With the victory, the Spurs move to 27-13 forty games into the season, the Spurs are now 16-4 at home, and 3-3 since returning from All-Star break. The team will host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. The Magic may come into San Antonio with or without All-Star center Dwight Howard as the NBA trade line approaches on Thursday and Howard receiving the most attention in trade rumors.
- Spurs guard Manu Ginobili left to the locker room midway into the third quarter with muscle tightness in his legs. He returned to the bench and even stretched his legs in the fourth quarter, but never returned to action. Ginobili is expected to be reexamined on Tuesday.
- In the first quarter, Tim Duncan passed Clyde Drexler for 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.