None of the Wizards’ previous 11 losses had been by more than 16 points but point guard A.J. Price said the team continues to compete for its coach. “He’s doing a great job in my opinion. It may not seem like it because we don’t have any wins to show for it, but . . . he’s coming in every day upbeat, positive. That’s all you can ask from him. We haven’t given up on him.”
They were simply overmatched against San Antonio (12-3), which has won four in a row overall. The Wizards had a little inside information on the Spurs, with new assistant Don Newman spending the previous seven years in San Antonio and winning two championships. But even the added support could not help slow down a machine that got 32 assists on 45 field goals and had seven players score in double figures.
Boris Diaw scored a team-high 16 and backup center Tiago Splitter contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played fewer than 24 minutes apiece, helping Gregg Popovich keep his all-stars to limited minutes after the team beat Toronto in double overtime the day before. The Spurs shot 13 of 23 from beyond the three-point line.
The Wizards are running out of excuses. Wittman is running out of lineup combinations. And fans at Verizon Center are running out of patience. When Ginobili faked Webster into the air and out of bounds, then made an uncontested hook shot, the Wizards heard more boos.
Wittman went with his fourth starting lineup, putting Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor and Price back in the first unit, along with Seraphin and Beal. The move actually paid some decent dividends early as Wizards led 32-29 when Webster made a 15-foot jumper with 10 minutes 43 seconds left in the second period. But the Spurs scored the next five points and never trailed again. After Price (11 points) hit back-to-back jumpers to bring the Wizards to 50-48, the Spurs closed the first half on a 10-0 run and received a standing ovation from a large section of the crowd.
“They carved us up pretty good,” Wittman said. “We kind of succumbed to it.”