San Antonio Spurs 118, Washington Wizards 94: Where the Spurs are good and the Wizards are really, really bad
Last night in Philadelphia, the Spurs scored 71 points in an ugly loss to the 76ers. In tonight’s win against the Washington Wizards, the Spurs scored 72 points in the first half. That, my friends, is everyone’s game recap lede.
And here’s another: Tim Duncan played only 12 minutes; Manu Ginobili went for 8. Steve Novak, on the other hand, filed 23 minutes of court time. That’s all you really need to know.
This was easily San Antonio’s easiest victory of the season. The Wizards played poorly and everything was clicking for the Spurs. In general, the Spurs played like a team trying to rid themselves of the aftertaste of the previous night’s loss.
The Spurs shot 58% from the floor and 52% from the arc, which ultimately says more about Washington’s defense than San Antonio’s offense.
The Wizards, to their credit, did a nice job in the second half of containing the Chris Quinn/Steve Novak pick and roll. It allowed them to cut into the lead and keep this one from becoming a real laugher.
The big story of the game, however, has nothing to do with the final score. The Spurs have blown plenty of other teams out this season. The big story of the game was Gregg Popovich’s decision to move away from his starting lineup for the first time this year.
George Hill was in as a starter and Manu Ginobili went back to his familiar role of 6th man. This was a smart move. The Spurs’ offensive efficiency had slipped in recent weeks. San Antonio, for example, had recently slipped from first to fourth in John Hollinger’s Offensive Efficiency ratings. Last night’s loss to Philadelphia signaled that something had gone stale.
It’s too bad I can’t say anything more about the move. This game didn’t really give us anything by which to judge the effectiveness of the Hill/Ginobili switch. As I said, Ginobili only played 5 minutes.
But it’s a story to watch as the season progresses.