Regular Season Game 71
Wizards (40-30) at Spurs (41-30)
March 21, 2018 at 9:30 PM AT&T Center | San Antonio, TX
TV: ESPN, NBCSW
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: SAS – 6.0
(Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
What to Watch:
First Matchup of the Season
The Wizards travel to San Antonio for the first and only time this season as they battle the Spurs, who are sitting in the middle of a tight Western Conference playoff race (see standings going into Tuesday night). Both teams have played each other 89 times, with the Spurs leading the series, 57-32.
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Wizards’ Bigs
Averaging 22.7 points and 8.4 rebounds a game this season, All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is having one of his best seasons in his career. With Kawhi Leonard out for the majority of the season, Aldridge has stepped up to a lead role for the Spurs, who are on pace to head to the playoffs for the 21st season in a row. If Aldridge goes off for 19 fourth quarter points on 7-of-10 shooting as he did against the Golden State Warriors, Washington will be toast.
It will be a challenge for the Wizards as they will face a front court that consists of Aldridge and Pau Gasol, who have great basketball IQs. Markieff Morris has the ability to guard Aldridge as he can defend the outside jumper and can bang bodies in the post, while Marcin Gortat can provide defensive support for both Aldridge and Gasol.
Backcourt play for the Spurs has been a key factor in their success. From Tony Parker, Patty Mills, and now Dejounte Murray, these guards have established a foundation for how the Spurs’ offense is being facilitated. Murray has set the season rebounding mark for Spurs point guards at 385 rebounds in 1,436 minutes. In addition, Murray has stepped up as the premier starting point guard for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Along with Murray, the Wizards will need to keep an eye out for Mills, who can score at any time off the bench with his shooting and hound Bradley Beal on defense.
Look for Beal and Tomas Satoransky to control the Spurs’ guards and their production. The intriguing factor will be the matchup of Satoransky and Murray, who are both players that run their team’s offense in an efficient manner and pad the stat sheets in many different ways, from points, rebounds, to assists. Both are also tall, wirey players.
I Hope It’s Not This Bad For Fans
Is this book really more interesting than Spurs-Warriors?
With the Wizards continuing to move their way up on the Eastern Conference playoff seeding, this game will be a challenge and the Spurs play basketball so beautifully that even other teams are in awe. Sure, it may be boring, but it is efficient. If the Wizards are able to play solid defense, knock down shots, and value each possession, the Wizards can capture a win in San Antonio. I have the Wizards winning against the Spurs with a solid balance of scoring from the starters as John Wall is ever so slowly nearing a return.