San Antonio Spurs 96, Washington Wizards 86: Holding onto his knee… holding onto his knee and down
AT&T CENTER — It’d be impossible to start this recap with anything other than Tim Duncan’s injury. Duncan went down in the second quarter with a left knee injury that the team described as a left knee sprain. He picked up a right ankle sprain as well. It came on a defensive play where Martell Webster went down and rolled up on the back of Duncan’s legs, much like offensive lineman in football get rolled up on.
Duncan stayed down on the floor holding his left knee (the one in the brace) for a couple of minutes before he was helped off the floor with the help of a couple of teammates. Fox Southwest cameras apparently caught Duncan then walking under his own power after going through the tunnel.
According to reports from players, Duncan left the arena under his own power as well. No wheelchair, crutches or anything. I can almost guarantee Duncan will undergo more tests over the next couple of days. As Jeff McDonald pointed out, it’s hard to imagine the Spurs would let their franchise big man leave the arena with any sort of aid if the injury was as serious as everyone fears.
“I just talked to the doctors and they said he is going to be fine,” Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said after the game. “That was not a pretty thing to see.”
I’m not sure whether Wittman’s referring to Spurs team doctors or getting the opinion of the Wizards team doctors, but the more positive news you can hear, even if it’s just hearsay, the better. That said, I like to be pleasantly surprised as opposed to sorely disappointed, so I’m going to go ahead and assume the worst.
Either way, you can probably assume that Duncan won’t play in the next five games to start the Rodeo Road Trip or the NBA All-Star Game (I doubt he’s too broken up about that), regardless of how minor the injury is.
Otherwise, there was a basketball game played both before and after Tim Duncan’s injury. San Antonio came out rolling in the first half, jumping out to an early lead and generally controlling proceedings. The Washington Wizards are not a great basketball team, and the difference in class was readily apparent in the first half. The Spurs defense was polished and they were easily contesting shots. Washington shot just 26% in the first half.
The second half, especially the third quarter, was a completely different story. Probably shaken by the sight of Duncan going down (the injury occurred with less than four minutes left in the first half), San Antonio played a flat second half. Washington outscored the Spurs 30-17 in the third quarter and cut what was a 51-26 halftime lead to six points early in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs eventually held on to pick up a 96-86 win. Tony Parker led the way with 19 points and 12 assists. Kawhi Leonard also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, though he only shot 3-for-9 from the field.
One of the biggest problems on the evening for the Spurs, even before the shock of Duncan’s injury, was turnovers. The Spurs coughed the ball up 16 times on the night with 13 of those coming through three quarters. It was a mixed bag of mistakes, mostly travelling violations and poor passes, with out of bounds calls thrown in for good measure.
In the end, the Spurs held on. The Spurs adjusted to Duncan’s absence, only turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter and scored down the stretch to keep the Wizards at bay. The stops on demand weren’t there, that could have something to do with Duncan, but the offense was just good enough to get by. How long San Antonio is without Tim Duncan is the only thing on everybody’s minds tonight.