San Antonio Spurs 118, Washington Wizards 94: Where the Spurs are good and the Wizards are really, really bad

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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.

  • TDzilla!

    wow, this is fast. and yey for limited minutes for Manu and TD

  • spursfanbayarea

    I don’t see Novak sticking around for the rest of the season. His defense is definitely not up to spurs level. He gets abused too easily by other bigs. I would much rather have given those minutes to anderson to catch up. Hopefully we can use the 13th roster spot on a big who can rebound or block shots. 2 rebounds in 21 minutes for a guy who is 6 10 is not effective enough for a championship caliber team. Good game by neal. Liked the aggressiveness and hustle. Keep it up. Hill played a solid game as well. Quinn seemed to struggle a bit, but he is our token blowout guard.

  • Junierizzle

    Good easy win. I was worried that the Wiz would play the game of their lives and challenge the Spurs. But they are as bad as advertised.
    I think PoP was just trying to rest Manu. But i guess we’ll have to wait and see.
    Personally I hope Manu remains in the starting line up.

  • Mark Weiss

    You know it is a blowout when the only good thing you can say about the other team is that they did well “containing the Chris Quinn/Steve Novak pick and roll,” as if that is one of the most dangerous weapons in the league…or even on the Spurs.

    Also, do you know if Tiago didn’t play because of the hamstring or a similar Ginobili not-starting “coaching decision?”

  • Bruno

    Ginobili has a injury, he is using a protection in his left arm…Why Pop put him in the game??Only to down his season numbers??!!

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Splitter was basically inactive. Hamstring.

  • Khoa

    I like this changeup and I hope Pop keeps it. Manu has really struggled with shooting and has really just been settling for three pointers for the first 3 quarters. I think part of the reason for the Spurs starting out slowly offensively lately has to do with Parker just standing around when Manu has the ball in his hand doing jab steps/pump fakes then jacking up a shot.

    Pop probably would love to give Tim and Manu some rest before All-Star weekend. Tony has a good shot of getting in Skills Challenge as well. I feel like Westbrook, Rose, and Wall will make it for sure. Not sure how many people are going to vote for last year’s rookie of the year Evans. Would be funny if Fisher got in because of Laker voting.

  • Ray

    If Manu’s that bad off that Pop has to watch his minutes by benching him then why not sit him for a few games instead? It’s not right to Manu (and a little to Hill) to continue to be switched back and forth. I’d rather have Manu take a few games off.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    The Spurs won by 24; Steve Novak was -12. Talk amongst yourselves.

  • Rafael

    @Bruno I think same thing, Pop will not start Hill only because “coach decision”

  • Dr. Love

    The Wizards have some really good offensive players, but they sure do suck as a team. OTOH, what NBA team doesn’t have some good offensive players?

  • http://www.operaforthemasses.com David G

    Was at the game. Wizards are awful. Worst part is Wiz were playing around, doing 360 layups, 29 foot fade aways before the game and did a big group dance during intros, and then this. I want my 70 bucks back Wizards.

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  • DCSpurs

    Besides watching the Spurs cruise to an easy victory, the best part of the game was at a timeout. A woman wearing a Wizards jersey had the chance to win money in the money machine. The only thing that would make her day would be to get an autographed jersey from Tim Duncan. Timmy looked up at the jumbotron when she said that. All the Spurs fans around me busted out laughing! Great stuff!

    The 3 point shooting was awesome tonight and it was amazing to see all those steals. I think it was a total of 13.

  • Ernie

    JMcDonald_SAEN via twitter:
    Pop says lineup decision made to keep Manu fresh for 4th, though he wasn’t needed. Says it will be a one-night thing.

  • Hernan

    Is it me, or since the last few games, the Spurs stopped moving the ball as they did in the first part of the year.
    TP seems to have gone back to his all self of holding the ball and not passing as much. He is scoring, but the team as a hole is suffering.
    I only hope Pop’s move to start Manu on the bench is not permanent, and just something related to Manu’s arm.

  • lvmainman

    lvmainman
    February 12th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    “But I still don’t understand why James Anderson can’t be getting 15 minutes a game in one of these back-to-back road games. Ginobili has been in need of more rest (23% from 3 on the road trip). Pop should treat Ginobili like Duncan in Sacramento with a game of 12 minutes only.”

    Wow, Pop actually listened to me. Except for the James Anderson part.

    Wizards were looking past the Spurs, in hopes for a win tomorrow against the Cavs on the road.

  • Yvonne

    Was also at the game. As a Spurs fan was pleasantly surprised by the number of Spurs fans at the game. Certainly don’t feel like the Wizards had home court advantage. Loudest cheers appeared to occur towards the end of the game when crowd was asked to cheer if they wanted free chick afil sandwiches! Wizards played badly tonight but I believe they’ve beaten the Celtics and the Lakers this year…. Credit to the Spurs for not taking the opponent for granted and having a business like win.

  • TD = Best EVER

    Great game all around. Good to have TD/Manu basically take the day off. hope pop can give them an actual entire day off soon. Splitter needs to get healthy, he seems to get dinged up a lot. Maybe an 82 game season is too much for him. Hope Manu goes back to starting, and if anything put TP on the bench. But we will have plenty of games to discuss that later if Manu stays on the bench. Novak hit a shot u dope. I was sticking up for you and getting a ton of evil looks I might add and look how you treat me. -12 really.

  • grego

    ^There’s no guarantee that there will be garbage minutes for James. It’s better if he gets 20-25 minutes a night in Austin. His shooting touch is fine, but he needs to get in game shape so he can play D.

  • JustinFL

    Great stuff DCSpurs. Wish I was there to see the look on Timmy’s face. I read on ESPN that this was only the 3rd sellout crowd for the Wiz this year. Somebody luvs them some Spurs in DC.

  • Jacques

    @ spursfanbayarea

    I agree. Even though the box score states no turnovers for Novak, I remember he PASSED the ball with only 1~2 seconds left in the clock. He also got into foul troubles and all of them were a reasonable call by the refs. I know he is only here for offense, but it’s not like his shots were amazing. The first three he attempted was not wise; he was still moving when he got the ball and immediately shot it up in the air. Martin looked pretty good, and i think Novak’s performance has been a factor.

    Nevertheless, a good win for the Spurs.

    p.s. Someone should have warned Chris Quinn to watch his back when Armstrong was going for a steal at the last possession…..

  • grego

    It’s easier to reduce Manu’s minutes by bringing him off the bench since he plays the backup PG role.

    Spurs can’t afford to give Manu the full night off since they lack a backup PG for long periods of time.

    What Pop can do is move up the time he subs Manu out of the starting lineup to bring Hill in.

  • SpurredOn

    @Ray – there is not switching back and forth of Hill and Manu. This was the first switch. Coach makes decisions for the team to be their most efficient and healthy, players follow as our team if filled with team guys. No worries need be had.

    @Bruno – You must be unaware, the Spurs, including the great Manu, don’t care about numbers other than victories. Thankfully they are unlike some fans.

    Nice team win that shows how much shooting percentages can change one night to the next, sometimes just by the lucky/unlucky bounce of the ball. That said, Wiz really are pretty bad at playing despite having young talent.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Tim
    “The Spurs won by 24; Steve Novak was -12. Talk amongst yourselves.”

    Mcdyess was a -7.

    I don’t like to look at plus or minus as a true indicator of performance. But I will have mcdyess on the court at any time. I prefer to watch game tape and see where players excel and where they are deficient. Plus or minus is one of the most misused statistics out there. Too easy for someone to just look at the box score and make a snap judgement. If you watch games you get more information. Before this year, OKC had a better plus minus when Durant was off the floor. No one would say that he should not play.

    Another poor example of plus minus was the spurs recent win vs the lakers. Parker was a minus 2. If you watched the game, parker was the reason the spurs got back in the game in the third quarter.

    You do not need a -12 to see that novak is not spurs material.

  • Bob

    Looks like Manu benching was a one game affair to get him rest. Pop was planning to play him in the fourth if they needed it.

  • zainn

    about some of you complaining about anderson not getting minutes:
    When anderson was send back to the d league, pop said that anderson looked REALLY bad on 3v3 play conditioning wise, so he sent him back to the d league. i think we’ll see him back sometime soon, and id love to see manu and blair off the bench like last season, even though i know that blair has been a BEAST! i think the ginobili blair bonner combo is just BEASTLY and it shoudl be tried out more this season like last season. I just hope we win over chicago b/c i’ve got a huge bulls friend to tell off.

  • justin-ray

    td=bestever

    ”if anything bench tony”

    shut up you clown

  • bong p.

    Another magnificient display when all the Spurs’ shooting cylinders are clicking basically sans Timmy and Ginobili. Parker provided the early breakaway spurt with his relentless drives to the bucket at the onset. Just too bad the Tiago was sidelined by injury since the match would have given more exposure.

  • rob

    Way To Go Spurs!!!

    I don’t care if the Wizards are the “worst?” team in the NBA. The Spurs came out and played the Wizards like they were the best team in the NBA. A far cry from the Philadelphia experiment.

    Great job team. They came back from a dismal performance and put up one of their best games this year. Congratulations on playing a solid game even though it was the 4th game in five days.

  • Hicksman

    Nice Win by the SPURS with all guns a blazing!! Good shooting all round reasonably well within the offence, D was nice decent rotations and although the Wiz maybe a poor NBA Team but the SPURS did make it reasonably hard most jump shooters had a hand in the face and alot of contested at the rim. Now I want to be greedy and get Anderson (I know he’s not ready but I still want him back) and Tiago some decent burn when heathly now lets blow the nets off the court
    GO SPURS GO!!!!!

  • Bankshot21

    Lmfao @ Justin-Ray. Thanx for saying what I was thinking but would never say because of the tight ship run here on 48MOH. Whatever rotation Pop chooses I’m confident in. I’d bet on the Spurs if Neal and Bonner started the same way I’d bet on them if Dyess and Manu started. I’m comfortable with the team we have. How about Monday! I hope it’s not a blowout. I want to see TD get @ least 30 minutes. Also looking forward to the head to head match up with Brook Lopez. That dude can flat out ball.

  • quincyscott

    What struck me last night was not just the great shooting percentage, but the crisp, accurate passing from everyone, and decisive cuts, passes, shots, etc. A complete about face from the Philly game.

    As far as changing the lineup, maybe Pop did this to shake things up and change the routine, maybe he did it to rest Manu, maybe he did it see how Hill or Parker would respond. Maybe he had all of these things in mind, and if so the Spurs succeeded on all counts. Sure, playing the Wizards can make a lot of teams look good, but the Spurs just looked as sharp as can be on offense, and were also attacking on defense. Plenty to be happy about last night, regardless of opponent.

    At times this season, Manu has looked worn out to me. We need to be careful about his minutes almost as much as Duncan’s. And Pop is lucky to be dealing with mature veterans whose egos won’t be bruised by such decisions.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Tight ship?

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @justin-ray

    “shut up you clown”

    @ Bankshot21
    “Lmfao @ Justin-Ray. Thanx for saying what I was thinking but would never say because of the tight ship run here on 48MOH.”

    WOW – Since when did this discussion board revert to name calling instead of ADULT disagreements. Let me try an alternate point and I challenge the both of you to find the error in my logic.

    Parker is better off the bench simply because it suits his game better and he fits in better with the other bench players. He needs the ball alot and is FAR BETTER hitting the spot up shooter off penetration than he is hitting the roll man. So of the bench players(Neal, Bonner, Dice, and Neo when he returns) how many of those players make a living in the painted area. NONE. So TP can run his PnPop and if his layup isn’t there, he can kick it back to the Pop guy for the open J. In the Starting unit. you have 3 players(TD, DJB, RJ) not named TP who have made their living attacking the basket and not just lofting up J’s. So it would make sense to play them with a player who is more accustomed to hitting the roll man or man cutting down the lane. Since we run PnR for the majority of our offense it makes sense to put players together based on their strengths. TP = PnPop and Manu = PnR

    So what say you naysayers? And lets act like adults can we?

  • http://espn.com Ed

    Quite the bounce back. Starters didn’t even break a sweat. Everyone rested for NJ means the Nets are in for a rough night. Looking forward to the Bulls game and expect a solid win.
    On a few random topics:
    -Novak…he’s a novelty at best, people calling for him to get into the rotation because he hit a 3 and he’s tall need to think again.
    -Manu…coming off the bench last night was all about rest, nothing else.
    -Trades…I haven’t seen one reasonable trade suggestion that wold make the team appreciably better. Leave them alone, they’re doing fine.
    -Playoffs…This team will compete deep, no 1 and done with these guys. There is NO team the Spurs should fear (of course they don’t fear anyone). I expect the Fakers to stand in the way and be dealt with harshly. Expect the C’s to be there from the East as their swan song and Spurs to send them into the sunset disappointed.
    -Splitter…he will contribute as the season goes on and in the playoffs and start next year.

  • Bankshot21

    Tight ship…..meaning classy business like blog.

    TD=B.E. I didn’t call you any names. I was moreso agreeing with the mockery of your bench Parker statement.

  • KOC

    There are a lot of Spurs fans in DC because of David Robinson. The man is just as much of a legend in the DC/Maryland area as he is in San Antonio because of his domination while playing for Navy. It was an easy transition for many of us to adopt the Spurs.

  • Bankshot21

    TD=B.E.

    You single handedly turned this into a TP vs. Manu as the starter when that’s not a question. The team has much success with both of them starting so why bench either of them? But to humor you I pose this question: What happened the last time TP got benched? He is running this team better than he ever has and you have him going to the bench? Let’s be serious.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    No I’m not saying that we should BENCH anybody. I never said we should bench anybody. But when POP put MANU on the bench, it appears to be a similar to past years when he wants to boost up bench production. That’s what I think I think is happening. If its just because of rest like many of you have said, then I take it all back and lets go back to our normal starting 5 again and I will be just fine with it.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    Or let me clarify by saying I only mentioned TP to the bench IF we HVAE to bench a player to get more production off the bench. If we were just resting Manu, then all is good and we should just play our normal starting 5.

  • Clearlybehind

    I clearly do not understand “blame Tony” mode guys get into all the time. Parker would have been responsible for almost as many wins as Manu this year. Manu’s poor play would have been costed us as many games as any other guy on the team. So what’s the big deal. Would you rather have George Hill pass to the roll man on P&R than Parker. I wouldn’t. I love the way Parker creates. We have to accept that sometimes horrendous shooting by teammates makes Parker look bad.

    BTW I am a Manu fan, so I don’t need a recount of how great he is. I am aware of that and also his sometimes critical head-banger turnovers. I would rather have him as a total package and the same with Parker ( his lacking defense etc)

  • betsyduncan

    Thank you for the clarification, KOC. I LOVE seeing Spurs’ fans in those crowd shots around the league!

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com JTEX

    No reason to celebrate against the Wizards, they’re in last place in their division. it was good that the the big three were rested. Bottom line the Spurs need a quality 7 footer for their rotation and there are players out there available for nothing more than a first round draft pick. They better move soon or it will haunt them come playoff time and all the success is for naught. The Spurs just don’t have the height for certain match up aginst the Mavs, Lakers, Boston, Magic, and Heat. The Spurs have not won anything yet. The playoffs are a whole new season and games will slow down into defensive battles. If you can’t get offensive rebounds againt the teams big in the middle, it sure would be embarassing with the season success to exit the playoffs earlier than the finals. It would be a turrible thing to witness as a Spurs fan! Go Spurs Go!

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Bankshot21
    “But to humor you I pose this question: What happened the last time TP got benched?”

    We made a hell of a run last season ending in the 7th seed. And then got swept in the 2nd round. So its kind of a mixed bag of results there.

    @JTEX
    “Bottom line the Spurs need a quality 7 footer for their rotation and there are players out there available for nothing more than a first round draft pick.”

    I agree with most of what you are saying. But let me say this, we DON’T Need another 7ft player. But is sure would help having that extra insurance. I think we can get by Dallas with or with out one. But I think against a motivated Denver or LA we could struggle if we can’t keep Denver out of the lane and LA’s bigs off the glass. So instead of going into these series with a razor thin margin for error. Another quality big would just improve our chances that much more.

  • John

    Tayshaun Prince will be a great addition

  • The Beat Counselor

    @BankShot21

    Brook Lopez is a legit 7-footer that averages under 6 rebounds per game in over 34 mpg.

    Overrated.

  • Titletown99030507

    @Ernie, don’t really care what JMcDonalds says.

  • Titletown99030507

    @lvmainman, Good point, Especially about Anderson, you would think this would be a great time to put JA on the court with these type of games had he still been here. And yes Manu looks just as tired as Timmy at times and they should watch his minutes also. That’s all we need is Manu to be worn out come playoff time. And what a shame with Splitter’s injury he needs to be on the court now and till the end of the season. Let’s hope he can bounce back and continue his journey in improving as he’s been.

  • Titletown99030507

    @TD = Best EVER, Splitter’s having a hard year in regards to injury but not basketball. Those aren’t dings. He’s getting beat up out there. I don’t think falling on your back and tailbone are dings. This guy plays with reckless abandon. He doesn’t care about pain. Pop does. That’s why he’s sitting. He needs to get healthy then maybe he’ll be on the court again sooner than later. And the 82 game schedule has nothing to do with it. He hasn’t played that many games to warrant that statement. If you notice since day 1 when he’s gotten time to play the person covering him has either fouled him or tried to rough him up in one way or another without the ref watching. For some reason everyone out there guarding him is out to make a statement with him. Is it because he was a former Euro MVP? And they want to dis him? I don’t know but it sure looks something like that. Poor Tiago, doesn’t matter if you noticed it doesn’t phase him either way.