Well at least they tried. The Washington Wizards fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 96-86 in the second game of a back-to-back. The ten point loss may appear mundane on the surface, but the game was anything but. San Antonio was, well, San Antonio all night and ran their offense to perfection, eventually jumping out to 27 point lead. Washington, to their credit, hung tough like NKOTB and eventually scraped and clawed their way to a six point game. Unfortunately Wall's heroics just weren't enough to overcome the Spurs' execution and Tony Parker's penetration.
One important non-Wizards take away from tonight's game: Martell Webster fell on Tim Duncan's leg and Duncan had to leave the game. It looked like he injured the left knee that had been giving him trouble for at least a few days now.
- San Antonio got off to a 15-4 lead. The Spurs were in complete control early on and looked like a well-oiled machine. Washington, meanwhile, was forced into making people like Temple and Wall score from the outside. Parker is looking particularly good tonight.
- Splitter does a very good job of guarding Nene. He's one of the few players with the size and mobility to keep up with him. Paired with a help defender like Duncan, he's able to almost completely neutralize Nene early on. As a result, Washington's offense devolves into Okafor post ups and long twos.
- San Antonio pushes their lead to 23-13 toward the end of the first quarter. The Spurs are just so veteran-y. It's like every shot they take is either a backdoor layup or an easy jumper coming from a simple screen and roll. The Wizards, to their credit, are attempting to use their athleticism to their advantage and repeatedly have Vesely and Seraphin attack the rim on screen and rolls.
- Washington is down ten after one, 17-27. Crawford has looked good and, for the first time in recent memory, Seraphin has more free throw attempts (two) than field goal attempts (one). Duncan and Parker have looked good for San Antonio.
- Washington hung in there and cut it to an eight point lead, 21-29, early in the second quarter. Ariza looked assertive and had a great dish to Okafor to for an assist. I have a feeling he's more important to the team's offense than a lot of us realize.
- San Antonio made it a 15 points lead, 38-23, after Washington's offense went cold. Nene has struggled from the field and too willing to take jumpers. Wall can't seem to figure out how to deal with the Spurs' mobile defenders.
- Duncan went out with what looked like a nasty leg injury after colliding with Martell Webster. It seems like he hurt the left knee that had been giving him problems the last few games.San Antonio will probably be fine tonight, though - they're up 48-24 with under a minute left in the first half.
- San Antonio is up 51-26 at halftime. San Antonio is good, Washington is bad, the game is ugly, simple as that.
- The third quarter sees more of the same. San Antonio continues to flawlessly execute its offense while Washington is forced into long two after long two. Wall and Nene start to have a little bit of success and they manage to stop the bleeding and eventually Washington fights back enough to make it a 20 points game, 46-66.
- Washington went on a run to cut it to 68-56, a twelve point Spurs lead, at the end of the third quarter. Wall scored nine points and did a good job of getting the team out in transition. Basically, Washington played ugly but hit just enough difficult shots and transition layups to cut into San Antonio's lead. Washington shot 76% from the field. Crazy.
- Chris Singleton played tonight and looked really solid. He had a couple of steals and made some jumpers, although you've got to wonder how unlikely it is that he'll be able to consistently shoot from the outside. His defense has been kind of mediocre, as he's lost Bonner a couple of times. His jump shot is looking a lot better than I remember it, both in terms of form and his apparent comfort level.
- Wall has hit a couple of jumpers tonight. I don't know what the percentages are looking like, but he seems to be making a lot more of his shots from above the free throw line.
- After cutting the Spurs' lead to six, Washington let them blow it back up to 12, 83-71, with about four minutes left in the game. San Antonio can really run an offense and Washington's bigs can't keep track of both Splitter and Bonner while helping to cut off driving lanes for Parker. The rest of the game is a slow-paced mess and Washington falls despite some heroics from Wall.