The San Antonio Spurs had a golden opportunity to win a third consecutive game for the first time this season but let it slip through their fingers. The Washington Wizards, 9-37, defeated the Spurs to drop San Antonio to 10-37.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Spurs really got rolling. Heading into the second period, San Antonio held a 35-25 advantage and looked fully capable of putting the game away. Regrettably, that never happened.
Instead, the Wizards remained within striking distance for the next two and a half quarters. The Spurs suffered through lapses where their concentration waned, while it was the Wizards who kept hammering away at the rock.
In the fourth quarter, San Antonio’s offense went dry, Washington’s intensity went up a couple more notches and the Wizards were able to take home a well-earned victory by a final count of 118-113.
Obviously, this was a disappointing loss for the good guys. They have to learn that they aren’t a team capable of coasting to victories. Even if they get off to a hot start against a bad team, they can’t skip steps. Let’s hope this lesson was learned.
Stats: Spurs vs. Wizards
Spurs vs. Wizards – Final Grades
Statistically, Wembanyama looked like he did well. He finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 31 minutes. While his all-around production held a healthy amount of value, there were some issues that held him and his team back. Offensively, Wembanyama was too often holding the ball too long and taking too long to make decisions. Instead of giving the ball up on time, he had the bad habit of trying to do too much. Defensively, Wembanyama’s rotations were a step slow — and he missed a few rotations entirely. The rookie definitely had his moments but his crispness on both ends was missing in action.
The good: Vassell was 8-for-14 on two-pointers and got to the free throw line six times. His driving to the hoop was more demonstrative and more physical than usual. Defensively, the effort was there most of the night. The bad: Vassell hit only 1-of-5 three-pointers. His passing and playmaking were out of rhythm. He had been doing well in that area but he finished with five turnovers against the Wizards due largely to a lack of cohesion.
Sochan is struggling to string together a series of quality outings. Versus Washington, it was another dud. There were positive defensive possessions here and there but Sochan’s offense was so tepid that it unquestionably hurt the Spurs. Sochan hit only 1-of-7 shots from the field and had only one assist in 26 minutes. Given his role on this team, he has to do more.
Tre was playing his brother Tyus really well for three quarters. In fact, up until the fourth quarter, it was clear that Tre was playing better. He was scoring well, making plays for others and kept San Antonio’s offense humming. Sadly, Tre’s evening fell apart in the fourth quarter. He missed all four of his field goal attempts in the final period while Tyus had a hand in Washington’s biggest plays of the night.
Champagnie’s movement without the ball was more sluggish than we’ve witnessed lately, which led directly to his quiet night on the offensive end. Two field goal attempts in 20 minutes? Yeah, no, that rate is too miniscule. Defensively, he was a little bit better. A few players got around him but he used his length to disrupt on that end.
I thought Johnson did reasonably well on the offensive end. His shot-selection was fine, he made a lot of quality passes and played with a decent amount of force. All in all, he was efficient on that end. Defensively, despite being credited with three steals, Johnson actually struggled. The Wizards were zeroing in on him on the perimeter in order to attack him — and Johnson didn’t hold up well in those situations. His lack of perimeter footspeed was painful to watch during a few possessions.
Osman almost single-handedly gave the Spurs a chance to win the game. He might have been the only player in Silver and Black to enter the game with an appropriate amount of liveliness and competitiveness. He was a terror in transition, hit his first four shots from beyond the three-point arc and his penetration gave the Wizards a lot of problems. Osman’s defense was also a plus throughout. Unfortunately, he missed both of his three-pointers in the fourth quarter and seemed to run out of steam during winning time.
With Zach Collins out of the lineup for a second straight game, Barlow stepped in as San Antonio’s backup center. He was actually really good. Offensively, his passing was outstanding. He’s really beginning to read the game at an advanced level. I also thought Barlow’s defense was impressive. His mix of mobility and physicality helped slow Washington’s attack. Unfortunately, Barlow’s evening was cut short when he fouled out of the game. A few of his fouls were completely avoidable so he has to play smarter to stay on the court — especially when he’s making a positive difference for his squad.
Wesley isn’t showing any signs that he’s losing his grip on the backup point guard job. He’s far from flawless but he’s doing enough on both sides of the court to remain both intriguing and useful. Defensively, he’s a relentless pest. Not only can he pressure the ball, he also is constantly in passing lanes and even can be found among the trees trying to protect the rim. Offensively, he makes the right passes and is picking his spots reasonably well. He can be even more aggressive but he continues to look much, much better than the rookie version of Wesley.
McDermott hit a couple three-pointers in his ten minutes of action. However, he ended up losing some of his minutes to Osman, which was entirely understandable. Osman was playing better defense and was red-hot from three-point land. While McDermott was out there, he was average-ish.
Pop struggled to find a group that played with a consistent amount of intensity. All night long, the Spurs looked like they were teetering on the edge of falling apart. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what ended up happening. That’s not all Pop’s fault but that was clearly an issue throughout the game — and he never found an answer.