Spurs vs. Wizards Preview: 2/2/13
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Tony Parker and the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs haven't lost in over three weeks.
Keeping things going shouldn't prove too difficult against the lowly Washington Wizards.
Looking to stay unbeaten at home since the start of December, San Antonio is expected to get Tim Duncan back from injury as it goes for a 10th consecutive win and 14th in a row over the Wizards on Saturday night.
Parker has been instrumental in helping the Spurs (37-11) climb to the top of the league standings, compiling team highs of 20.1 points and 7.5 assists per game. The five-time All-Star, who's posted seven consecutive 20-point efforts, scored 22 on 9-of-10 shooting Wednesday in a 102-78 rout of Charlotte.
"He did it again," said coach Gregg Popovich, who missed the previous three games due to an illness. "He put it upon himself and he comes up with two big baskets down the stretch. He's really been special."
Parker, whose 53.2 field-goal percentage ranks first among guards, has had to carry an even bigger load over the last four games with Duncan out due to a sore knee, a stretch during which he's averaged 25.0 points on 67.2 percent shooting.
"He's our leader, I'm following him on the court," Duncan said. "He's been unbelievable this year. ... He's consistent, he's getting beat on, people are keying on him and still he's doing what he's doing, it's impressive."
While the Spurs have certainly impressed during their winning streak, their recent efforts at home are all the more astounding. Since falling 92-87 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 19, San Antonio has outscored opponents by an average of 15.4 points in taking 17 straight on its own court.
Unfortunately for the Wizards (11-34), they're plenty familiar with the Spurs' ability to string together wins. Washington has dropped 13 straight in this series by an average of 18.0 points, including a one-sided 118-92 defeat in the nation's capital on Nov. 26.
The Wizards, tied with the Bobcats for the league's worst record, haven't beat the Spurs since limiting Duncan to 11 points on 3-for-18 shooting in a 110-95 win Nov. 12, 2005. Duncan's average of 17.1 points in this series is his second-lowest against any opponent. He's put up just 9.8 per game in his last four against the Wizards, though he hasn't played as many minutes because the games have been so one-sided.
Washington enters this game hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive loss after dropping to 3-20 on the road with Friday's 85-76 defeat at Memphis. Nene had 14 points but was the only player to score in double figures for the Wizards, who were outrebounded 46-31
Washington went 3 for 3 from the free-throw line against the Grizzlies, establishing a new franchise low for attempts.
John Wall left Friday's game in the second quarter with a left shoulder strain but returned to start the second half. His status for Saturday is unknown.
"I was scared," said Wall, who missed the team's first 33 games due to a left patella injury. "I can't catch a break, is all I was thinking. I went back out there and played. I could still feel the pain, but I just tried to play through it."
Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, is averaging just 8.0 points on 31.3 percent shooting in three career games versus San Antonio - his lowest marks against any team.
The Wizards are 0-8 on the road in the second of back-to-backs.
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