Suddenly, like a switch was flipped, the Washington Wizards have returned to their earlier season form and are now mired in a four game losing streak after falling to the San Antonio Spurs 96-86 on the road.
Even with Tim Duncan only playing 14 minutes before leaving with an injury the Spurs still managed to hold a comfortable lead throughout most of the game with four shooters in double figures and two of them totaling double-doubles. It was the Tony Parker show with his 19 points and 12 assists for most of the evening. Parker was joined by Kawhi Leonard who totaled 10 points of his own and added 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile the Wizards looked absolutely lost at times, even with John Wall posting his second best offensive night of the season. Yet another high turnover night combined with a low free throw shooting percentage contributed to one of the team’s worst losses of the year.
Washington never led in the game and they could not have played a worst first quarter. San Antonio did whatever they wanted with the basketball and opened up on a 15-4 run capped off with a jumper from Parker. Wizards Head Coach Rand Wittman called a timeout following Parker’s two and got the Wizards somewhat back on track. The lead was cut to six with just over half the first quarter gone, but the Spurs promptly went on another run, this one of the 22-1 variety.
The embarrassing run would carry the Spurs to halftime and showed everyone there in fact could be something worse than starting the game down 15-4 and it was only scoring nine points in the second quarter.
Even though the Wizards would score 30 points in each the third and fourth quarters, out-scoring the Spurs 60-45, their first half hole was just too deep to dig out of. Wall would lead the comeback attempt, with help from Nene and Martell Webster, but the missed free throws would be what killed them in the end. As a team, they only had 17 chances total and then only hit on eight of them, less than fifty percent. Only one Wizards player did not miss a free pass and it was Wall, who only had one shooting attempt.
Washington’s best players on the evening came off the bench in Tervor Ariza, Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton. All three of them were in double-digits on the plus side of the plus/minus scale and both Ariza and Singleton scored in the double-figures. Too many players were minuses though and the team didn’t convert enough of the Spurs’ turnovers into points.
With the road trip over, Washington heads home licking their wounds unable to keep the momentum from the last trip on the road going. They return to the Verizon Center Monday to face the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets in a short three game home-stand before hitting the road again.
With Bradley Beal still looking unlikely to play, Washington may need to use the time at home to find another scorer somewhere on their roster.