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Wizards Vs. Spurs Preview: Meet Tony Parker, Tim Duncan And Their Mates


The San Antonio Spurs are a good basketball team. Death, taxes, etc.

Are they good in general?: I hate repeating myself.

Are they good against the Wizards? The Spurs have won 11 straight home games against the Wizards. Overall, the Wizards haven't beaten the Spurs since early in the 2005-06 season. The Wizards' starters for that game? Gilbert Arenas, Antonio Daniels, Jared Jeffries, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood. Caron Butler came off the bench.

Are they fast or slow? These aren't your same plodding Spurs. They're 12th in the league in pace, fueled by their small guards.

Are they especially good at anything? Despite changing their style over the years, the Spurs' tenants remain the same. They shoot well (third in eFG%). They don't foul on defense. They control their defensive boards. These are Gregg Popovich staples.

Are they especially bad at anything? They're still a bit small, which hurts them against bigger, tougher teams. That doesn't mean the Wizards.

Are there any people involved with the organization that Mike really likes? I like a lot of guys on the Spurs, but I'm always impressed with how they churn out combo guards and put them in a position to succeed. That applies to Danny Green and Gary Neal.

Are there any people involved with the organization that Mike really doesn't like? Kawhi Leonard has been way better than I expected, so I'll just have to go with Richard Jefferson here.

Are there any players poised for a breakout? You have to be impressed with how the Spurs have developed Leonard, a unique player that has weaknesses, but can be channeled into a specific role. The Spurs don't look at Leonard's unique skills and try to make the most of all of them. Instead, they tell him to hit threes, defend his position and move without the ball. Other teams may have flopped with Leonard's development, but the Spurs have figured out a way to maximize his talent.

Are there any players the Wizards especially need to worry about? The Spurs throw a lot of unique ball screens at you, which causes lots of confusion offensively. They're not the kind of team to keep it simple and put those pick and rolls at the top of the key. Instead, they love dumping the ball to the wing, having Tony Parker race off a baseline screen and get him in a pick and roll on the move. The Wizards have to be aware of everything happening on the weakside to stop the Spurs' offense. No ball-watching. Otherwise, they're liable to a cut to the basket or a shooter sliding over just enough to spot up from three.

Is their mascot cool? I like the Spurs coyote.

Any other random quirks: The Wizards haven't won in San Antonio since the Spurs played in the Alamo Dome. This will get repeated a lot.

For more Spurs coverage, visit Pounding the Rock.