For the first seven minutes of the game, the world was beautiful. The Wizards raced out to a 19-2 lead. There was a period where John Wall had more assists (6) than the Spurs had points (4). Porter was cutting hard to the rim, and Wall’s passing game was on point, leading to things like this:
cool pass, john wall pic.twitter.com/DunXHpaYEZ— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) November 5, 2015
But Spurs gonna Spur. The Wizards started taking some questionable shots, and San Antonio found the cracks in the defense like only they can, ending the quarter on a 21-3 run. The Wizards got their composure and stopped the bleeding, and for most of the second and third quarters, the Wizards trailed by somewhere between 3 and 10 points: Never out of it, but never in control either.
The Spurs are impressive because they are a well-oiled machine. Any one player – even a starter – can have a sub-par game, and yet the offense keeps clicking. But the Wizards found a way to turn it up a notch at the end of the 4th, with momentum changing plays like this:
And this one:
John Wall tied the game with 3:40 left to go, and Beal gave the Wizards the lead with a slam at 3:20. The Spurs, of course, always seemed to have an answer.
With less than a minute left to play and the Wizards up 1, a hectic play involving two crucial deflections from Beal and Porter (giving Washington time to reset their defense) and two missed jumpers from Kawhi Leonard led to the ball in John Wall’s hands and a trip to the free throw line. Wall made them both, but Tony Parker hit a contested three (his only three of the game) on the other end to tie it again.
Back with possession and 7.3 seconds to go, the Randy Wittman drew up a play for Bradley Beal, who faked out LaMarcus Aldridge and hit the game winning three.
Is this the new normal for Bradley Beal? Beal has scored 24+ points in every game this season. Alongside Wall, he has become a go-to player when the Wizards need a bucket. Tonight he had 25, plus four assists and three steals
Otto Porter emerged from his early season hibernation to score 19 points.
Turnovers made the difference. The Wizards had just 10, but they forced 20. This helped keep the Spurs from pulling away in the third quarter.
The Wizards’ big man rotation still has question marks. Kris Humphries was short on most of his shots tonight, hitting 3-7 overall and 1-4 of his threes. Gortat picked up three fouls early and struggled from the field, shooting 4-9. Nene was solid, but his poor free throw shooting was a constant fourth quarter danger. Dudley was the lone bright spot, continuing the pattern of playing very little in the first half but being on the floor to close the game, doing all of the little things (and hitting some shots).