It's no secret that the Wizards haven't had much luck in San Antonio over the years. The last time they won a game there Dwight Eisenhower was president, and Columbus was busy docking the Santa Maria in the Caribbean.
And if it's one thing Washington does well it's preserve historical tradition.
The Wizards rolled onto the Spurs' home turf tonight after a brutal overtime loss in Oklahoma City and a lackadaisical loss in Dallas. Randy Wittman knew the bench wasn't cutting it, so he mentioned some changes would be made. If something's not working, after all, you want to make some tweaks to fix it. Apparently, altering the bench rotation wasn't enough to prevent the almost-winners of the 2013 NBA Finals from running all over this team. The Wizards cut the lead to a possession or two a few times, but the game felt out of reach pretty much the entire time and they finally lost, 92-79. Not very comforting for a fanbase itching to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Now, if you watched the game from start to finish like I did, then you probably noticed it got out of hand pretty quickly, it settled down a bit in the second quarter, it got a little better in the third quarter, and then it turned into a gaping hellmouth in the fourth. The Spurs defended better--boy howdy did Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter have fun the paint--and they executed better offensively at just about every turn than the Wizards. Sure, the Wizards forced a few turnovers here and there, but nothing to write home about.
Normally, this is about the time where I'd do the GOOD, BAD, UGLY schtick, but this time I'm going to pass.
Instead, I'm going to go on a quick rant:
You know how I knew we weren't going to win the game from the start? Not because San Antonio is abstractly "better" than Washington. Not because the Spurs have Hall of Famers on their team. Not because their veterans have been together for ages and their core youth have been folded into the framework so seamlessly.
No, none of that really means anything to me.
It's because the Spurs ran plays, and Washington did not. It was really obvious to see. Personally, I'm not a huge Xs-and-Os guy, but I could see very starkly in this game what a well-executed offense looked like and what a non-executed offense looked like. San Antonio's offense started at halfcourt, and the object was the continue moving the ball from player to player (by PASSING) until the player in the most optimal position to score had the ball.
The Wizards' offense, on the other hand, ended at halfcourt. The object of the offense just seemed to be to make sure John Wall had the ball in his hands and that his teammates were moving around like buoys. The offense would include far too much dribbling, not enough perimeter or interior passing, and not nearly enough high-percentage shots. Sure, we can credit the Spurs' defense for that--and we should--but the ball movement wasn't there. And it wasn't there against Dallas either. Corner threes, schmorner threes. The ball needs to move.