Coming into tonight's game, only three teams are top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency: The Grizzlies, the Clippers and the Spurs. While some teams may join the club as the season progresses and defensive intensity rises (Hi Miami!) it's pretty clear the Wizards will have their hands full tonight as they try to avoid losing a dozen games to start the season.
Where, When, and What Channel: The game will start at 7:00 p.m. at the Verizon Center. You can watch it on Comcast SportsNet.
Why You Should Care: Because beating an 11-3 team would be a pretty neat way for the 0-11 Wizards to get their first win of the season.
What They Do Well: Like the title says, the Spurs are just a really well-rounded team. Offensively and defensively, they can pretty much do it all. With Tony Parker running the show and Tim Duncan taking care of thing in the paint, they've always been solid on both ends. But with the influx of new talent on the wings, they've helped the Spurs to stay ahead of the curve as their stars start to age. In addition to always-excellent Manu Ginobili, the Spurs can now trot out Danny Green and Gary Neal to help ease the burden as well as Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson when they return to health.
What They Do Poorly: If you had to find one flaw with the Spurs, it would be rebounding. Other than Tim Duncan, no one on the team is averaging over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. DeJuan Blair just hasn't been the same force on the glass since his first two seasons, and the rest of their bigs (Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Tiago Splitter) aren't guys who were brought in as rebounding specialists.
How the Wizards Match Up With Them: Not gonna lie, it doesn't look pretty. The Wizards don't have a guard who can keep up with Tony Parker and they don't have good size to battle with the Spurs' wing players. Additionally, their defense loves to funnel players who love to shoot (Jordan Crawford) into spots on the floor where they take bad shots. Don't be surprised if this is one of those games where Crawford scores 25, but takes 23 shots to do it.
Reasons for hope: The Spurs are coming off a double-overtime win in Toronto on Sunday night, where Duncan, Parker and Green all played over 40 minutes. Tonight is a night where the Wizards can exploit the Spurs' fatigue. Although the Wizards are much slower paced team than the Spurs, tonight is a night where they should try to play closer to the Spurs' usual pace to wear them out.
Also, as we said earlier, the Spurs aren't great on the glass. The Wizards aren't exactly great either, but they've been hovering around the league average so far this season. If the Wizards stand a shot, they'll need to get good performances from Okafor, Singleton, Seraphin, Booker, Vesely and yes, Earl Barron. If they can hold their own and cut off some of the Spurs penetration, which should be a step slower tonight, they might have a shot.