The Wizards are the only team in the NBA to defeat Miami, Oklahoma City and Portland by double-digits this season. They have pulled off some impressive wins against the NBA’s best teams, including Golden State and Phoenix, but they have yet to defeat Indiana and San Antonio in three lopsided tries.
The Spurs have won 15 straight against the Wizards, dating back to Nov. 12, 2005 - before 12 players on the Wizards’ roster even entered the league. The winning is their longest against any NBA team. Miami also has a 15-game win streak against Charlotte, which is tied for the longest active streak in the league.
San Antonio walloped them, 92-79, three months ago in a game that was much more lopsided than the score would suggest. Trevor Ariza was unable to finish that game after straining his right hamstring in the first quarter of that loss. Afterward, Nene criticized his younger teammates – John Wall and Bradley Beal, in particular – for not playing as a team. Since then, the Wizards have gone 22-17.
“We are a totally different now. We are obviously better, more experienced. I think the chemistry is way better than the last game,” center Marcin Gortat said. “Obviously, we’d like to pay them back. We beat the first team, we beat the second team, now we’d like to beat the third team from the West. There is nothing better than beating San Antonio and Coach Gregg Popovich, who is in my opinion, the best coach in the NBA.”
Garrett Temple was a product of the Spurs’ system, spending parts of two seasons in San Antonio. He has maintained an appreciation for how that organization operates. “They plug people in. they’re like the Patriots in football. They plug people in and that system just goes. Pop is a great coach,” Temple said.
Temple added that the Wizards had no answer for the Spurs when the teams met in November. “We understand that they did a clinic against us offensively in San Antonio and we’ve done a better job of moving the ball, getting a lot of people involved…It’s going to be tough [to win]. They move the ball. They score the ball, but we have to be disciplined on offense and disciplined on defense, with the way they move the ball and they have a lot of threats, so we have to pay attention to detail, understand what our concepts are and execute it.”
The Wizards will have Trevor Booker back after he missed the previous game to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Mc’elroy, in Carlisle, S.C.
(TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus. Radio: WFED-1500).
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