Spurs at Wizards Give and Go Preview

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After a long, apparently historically-close win against the Raptors on Sunday afternoon, the San Antonio Spurs are in the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards. No word yet on who will or won’t be available for the game, but I doubt Tim Duncan or Tony Parker will play. Manu Ginobili, who logged 36 minutes  yesterday as well, could sit out as well.

In our attempt to preview a game that no one has any idea who will play in, we invited Kyle Weidie of ESPN TrueHoop Network Wizards blog Truth About It to chat about a number of Spurs-Wizards topics.

Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: Spurs-Wizards. What has been the biggest thing Washington has struggled with this season, other than John Wall’s health?

Kyle Weidie, Truth About It: Offense. They’ve had no post presence (aside from Nene, lately) to dump the ball to in the post and command doubles… Well, Kevin Seraphin has commanded doubles, and he handles them very poorly. The Boston Celtics, by general rule, try not to double the post. But early in the season they did so against Seraphin (because he is a very adept scorer near the basket)… However, it was less out of respect for Seraphin’s scoring prowess and more because the chances of them forcing Seraphin into a turnover were high.

Otherwise, on offense, the Wizards have been relatively selfless (improvement in assisted made field goals is off the charts), but have found themselves passing the ball around the horn too much because they lack slashers with confidence. Plus, Okafor has been horrible on offense, and Ariza has been even more horrible.

AM: So when the Wizards do score, how are they doing so?

KW: In the early season they were also the NBA’s worst in getting to the free throw line… that’s improved lately. But when they score, it’s been because guys like Trevor Ariza, AJ Price, Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal are throwing up a lot of shots… and making some (but not many). Seraphin is fourth on the team at 10.8 points per game… And Martell Webster has been the most efficient perimeter scorer (who gets minutes, and even his are inconsistent). The Wizards are third in the NBA in 3-pointers attempted per game, 28th in percentage… So, yeah.

But, with Nene back the last two games, in limited minutes, the offense has been much better. And although Shaun Livingston’s numbers won’t astound you, he’s eons better than Jannero Pargo (not hard to imagine)….

AM: The Spurs are struggling keeping opposing teams off the offensive glass right now, any chance Washington will be able to exploit that?

KW: Well, neither Nene nor Seraphin are barn-burners on the glass, but that’s mostly defensively. I could mostly see Chris Singleton, Martell Webster, and even Beal challenging the Spurs on the boards. Okafor will be a body.

AM: Tim Duncan has been a monster all season and Tony Parker is starting to round into form…actually, I don’t know why I’m asking about them. They’re not going to play. So, who’s going to defend Danny Green?

KW: Neither Duncan nor Parker are playing?

AM: I would doubt it. The Spurs went two overtimes today and both Duncan and Parker played more than 40 minutes. Ginobili played 36. Hope the fans in DC are looking forward to watching Cory Joseph and James Anderson.

I think this is the game where the Wizards get their first win.

KW: Wittman has gone to a Shaun Livingston, Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin lineup over the last two games… that’s gotta change on Monday. If I had my choice, Chris Singleton would get assigned to Danny Green.

AM: How far away is John Wall from returning to action?

KW: Indeterminate. Orignal timetable was 8 weeks, which would’ve been end of November, beginning of December. He’s not currently practicing, so the question will be how his knee will respond and how much time he will need once he does start practicing… A week? Two weeks? Mid-December? Earlier? … I know one thing, the Wizards, and Wall, will be cautious.

AM: Because there’s really no point in rushing him back. Well that’s a shame, I enjoy watching Wall when he’s playing, I just wish he had better teammates around him when he does.

Before I let you go, I need one random prediction from tomorrow night’s game. Nothing to do with the final score.

KW: Beal’s best offensive output has been 22 points on 7-14 FGs, 8-8 FTs in his fourth game of the season… Against San Antonio, he’ll break that mark… mostly because he’ll finally get abundant opportunity to play with Nene.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    Any chance Kawhi plays Thursday against the Heat? He’s only defended LeBron once with the Spurs (I’m sure he got a few reps in with Team USA), it was his 14th game as a rookie, and RJ was the starter. He’s improved his D and O greatly in just 10 months and could definitely use a matchup against LeBron as a learning experience.

    If he doesn’t play on Thursday, he’ll only have defended LeBron once this season (March 31st) and once as a rookie for a few minutes.

    Long term, though, his injury could be a nagging one and he could end up not playing for several more weeks to months if it isn’t taken care of.

    Any insight into the Spurs’ thinking?

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Shutting Kawhi down in the first place was because the injury kept worsening and the pain wouldn’t go away. I doubt they would bring him back ahead of schedule just because he hasn’t had many reps against LeBron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dromjohn John M. Perkins

    The Wizards did beat the Heat twice last year.

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  • junierizzle

    I smell a trap game.

  • smoke&mirrors

    true hoop bloggers know nothing about basketball, especially the spurs bloggers

  • smoke&mirrors

    spurs are bold front runners.
    they fold at the first sign of adversirty
    i fear an early round exit for them again

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    You were right… they really DIDN’T want to rush Kawhi. Or their five other most productive players.