March 21, 2018 | AT&T Center | San Antonio, TX
The Washington Wizards have not won a game in San Antonio since 1999 and 18 games later, the losing streak continues as the road team was defeated, 98-90. Both teams are jockeying for playoff seeding and matchups. However, the Spurs extended their winning streak to five games, and the Wizards are now 4-6 in their last 10 games, which as a result has made them fall to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
“We gotta realize what’s at stake, man,” Bradley Beal said to reporters after the game. “We keep going the way we’re going, we’re going to end up dropping and mess around and be eighth or something. We gotta do whatever it takes to get a win.”
(Photo: Mark Sobhani)
Washington Starts Hot, Then Crumbles
Everything was in sync for Washington to start the game. They started off with a 6-0 run as San Antonio struggled from the field, missing their first seven shots. Washington led 11-4 midway through the first quarter. However, the Spurs finally found the bottom of the net and quickly tied the game by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
Washington gave up 32 points to San Antonio in the second quarter and the Spurs continued to build on their lead by outscoring Washington, 27-16, in the third quarter thanks to a 17-5 run. The Wizards tried to get back into the game late in the fourth, but the effort was to no avail.
The Wizards shot 42.2 percent from the field including a miserable 32 percent, 8-for-25, from behind the arc, which was just 18.8 percent, 3-for-16, through three quarters. Beal was one of two starters in double-figures as he led the first unit with 21 points. Otto Porter Jr. contributed 12 points, but he only shot 5-for-13 from the field. The other starters were all non-factors.
Several Wizards Struggled Offensively
To win games, you must have some offense. Well, that was not the case for many of the Wizards. Tomas Satoransky played a total of 32 minutes and had no points at all for the first time in his career as a starter. He shot dreadfully from the field going 0-for-8, a career-worst, but he did chime in with six assists. Markieff Morris had five points in 25 minutes of playing time. Additionally, Marcin Gortat had seven points for the night. Washington’s starting bigs combined for as many points as Ian Mahinmi with 12.
Positive Pixel: Kelly Oubre Jr.
In every cloud, there is a silver lining. Well, in this storm, Oubre was the source of light and hope. The wing shot 9-for-17 from the field and 50 percent, 3-for-6, from behind the arc to total 21 points for the night. Additionally, he had three assists. Not only did he play offense, but he made his defensive presence known as well. Oubre had six rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in 34 minutes. His play kept the Wizards within striking distance; however, the team could not overcome the oppressive Spurs’ defense.
LaMarcus Aldridge Was Unstoppable
Aldridge dominated this game, almost single-handedly for San Antonio. He finished the night with 27 points on 12-for-23 shooting from the field. Additionally, he was one rebound away from having a double-double, which was more rebounds than any player on the Wizards with nine boards. Aldridge did have some help from his teammates as Kyle Anderson chimed in with 16 points on an efficient 7-for-8 shooting from the field. Anderson and Aldridge were the only two starters in double-figures for San Antonio, while Rudy Gay added 10 points off the bench to lead the second-unit.
Wizards Tumbling Down Standings
Beal said that every team they play will be a playoff contending team for the remainder of the season. This is somewhat true. Every game matters at this point. Tonight, the Spurs were looking to add to their win streak as they are competing for not just a seed in the playoffs but also for a playoff spot. They were clearly the team that wanted the win more.
The Wizards will make it to the playoffs without any issues; however, they can find themselves in a precarious situation if they are not careful. They are currently the sixth-seed in the East and if the playoffs were to start tomorrow, they would be facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is worth mentioning James had 35 points as his team defeated the top-seeded Toronto Raptors tonight. Washington must win as many games as possible and hope Indiana and Philadelphia, currently the fifth and fourth seeds, respectfully, lose or the Wizards might have an early exit in April.
Next Game: The Wizards will play host to the Denver Nuggets who are the ninth seed in the Western Conference and are trying to win their way into the playoffs. Another Western opponent playing out of desperation, Washington must come to play or they will continue to tumble down the standings. Maybe the home team will have an added boost when Phil Chenier’s No. 45 jersey is raised to the rafters at halftime.