The Washington Wizards had no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge who scored a game-high 27 points as the Spurs beat the Wizards 98-90 on Wednesday evening.
The Wizards stayed afloat through the first half of this game on the backs of Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre. They combined for 23 of Washington’s 44 first half points as they trailed by just six at halftime, 50-44.
The tide turned in the third quarter. After Washington cut the lead to three, 52-49, the Spurs went on a 17-5 run to blow the game open en route to handing the Wizards their 18th straight loss in San Antonio.
The Wizards made a late run and were able to get as close as 12 with less than seven minutes left, but Scott Brooks had already waived the white flag and decided not to re-insert his starters.
Unfortunately for the Wizards, the loss drops them to sixth in the Eastern Conference thanks to the 76ers defeating the Grizzlies earlier in the evening. That’s just life in the Eastern Conference playoff race these days.
San Antonio Spurred the Wizards tonight
The Spurs roster has two 40-year olds, a couple of players that you’d have to google to make sure you’ve got their names right, not to mention multiple a few aging stars – yet here they were diving for loose balls and showing a sense of urgency that was lacking from the Wizards tonight.
San Antonio made all the hustle plays, grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, and they were just a step faster than Washington tonight, even though the Wizards hadn’t played since Saturday. There was a sequence in the third quarter where San Antonio missed three shots but Dejounte Murray was there to grab all three offensive rebounds and the Spurs’ persistence eventually led to free throws for Pau Gasol.
To compound their issues, Washington’s live-ball turnovers led to points on the other end for San Antonio. Washington turned the ball over 14 times resulting in 21 points for the Spurs.
Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre eat. Everyone else? Not so much.
Beal singlehandedly kept the Wizards in this one for most of the first half. After missing his first shot of the game, he connected on his next five field goals for 11 first quarter points. The rest of the team only made three shots in the quarter.
He started the second half with a tough layup and foul amongst the trees as the Wizards were able to trim the lead to three 50-47 early in the second half. But the duo of Beal and Oubre didn’t get much scoring help from their teammates and got blown out as a result.
Kelly Oubre’s scoring has been up and down since the All-Star break. He turned in a pretty good performance in this one with 21 points and 10 coming in the first half. What’s the best way to bust out of a scoring slump? Get easy baskets – like this dunk in transition.
WATCH OUT BELOW.— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 22, 2018
HERE COMES KO!#WizSpurs pic.twitter.com/SRYGyhxJbH
Oubre did just that as he wasn’t settling for jumpers early on as seven of his nine first-half field goal attempts came in the painted area where he connected on five of them.
Oubre scored 11 points after halftime, but most of them came in garbage time.
- Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks both missed the game with flu-like symptoms. They probably wouldn’t have been enough to make the difference, but their absence goes to show just how razor-thin the Wizards are at certain positions
- Small ball isn’t always the answer - The Wizards went big with Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi matched up against LaMarcus Aldridge and they also went small with Markieff Morris guarding him. None of the guys were effective in slowing him down
Up Next: Washington heads back home for a game on Friday against the Denver Nuggets during which they’ll retire Phil Chenier’s number.