As we all know, the San Antonio Spurs have been the NBA's model franchise for the 21st century. They've put a system in place that allows them excel in the midst of adversity and overcome the loss of key contributors. Even when things are at their worst, they find ways to get wins and make it look like they have things under control.
Throughout the Spurs' reign over the NBA, they've had their way with the Wizards, especially in San Antonio, where they haven't been beaten since 1999. Tonight, with Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard out, the Spurs struggling, and the Wizards having their best season in years, it appeared that the Wizards just might be able to end that streak.
But at the end of the day, no matter the circumstances, the Spurs are still the Spurs, and the Wizards are still the Wizards. And when the final buzzer sounded, the Spurs once again came away with the victory, beating the Wizards 101-92. The faces and circumstances may have changed from previous meetings, but the game still felt like most other meetings between these two in San Antonio.
Let's review the key elements of a typical Wizards-Spurs game and how those recurring elements manifested themselves tonight:
Spurs allow one Wizard to feel good about themselves
After getting no playing time in Friday's game in Oklahoma City, Randy Wittman flipped the script and gave Otto Porter some nice run against the Spurs. Porter responded with 11 points on 5-8 shooting and had three assists. The only downside of Porter's performance was that it came at Paul Pierce's expense. The Truth only played 17 minutes in a game where the Wizards really could have used some of his bail out shots when things started falling apart in the second half.
One Spur has unexpectedly good night
If I told you before the game that Cory Joseph was going to have a big night in Tony Parker's absence, you probably would have looked at me and said "Yeah, that sounds about right" if you've watched enough of these Wizards-Spurs game. In fairness to the Wizards, they weren't making it easy for Joseph out there, but San Antonio kept finding ways to give him enough wiggle room to get it done.
Spurs slowly suffocate Wizards
The Wizards, motivated by their tough loss to the Thunder, came out hot against San Antonio, scoring a season-high 35 points in the first quarter. The bench kept the scoring up, adding 23 points in the second quarter. But in the third quarter, things started to unravel for the Wizards, as their legs started to give out. They only scored 19 in the third quarter. Then, in the final frame, the Spurs held the Wizards to only 15 points, including just four points in the last 5:34 of the game.