By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards road trip makes its final stop in San Antonio as they take on the Spurs tonight at AT&T Center (8:30 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Spurs won the first meeting, 118-92, in Washington on November 26th.
The Wizards need to enter this game with the "nobody gave us a chance" attitude as the numbers mostly will point towards the Spurs. Although it really has little effect on this current team, the Wizards have not won in San Antonio since 1999 and the Spurs are currently the hottest team in the league, winners of nine straight. On top of that, they could get future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan back from a knee injury tonight.
But, there an old adage that says they don't play games on paper. Sometimes entering a game as a big underdog will allow a team to play loose and pull off an upset and that's what the Wizards will be looking to do tonight.
The Wizards are coming off an 85-76 loss last night in Memphis. After scoring 30 points in the first quarter, the ball seemed to stick a little bit and the Wiz got away from getting the ball inside. They also only shot three free throws which is something that will need to change in order for them to get the upset win tonight.
The Spurs are a team that when they get into a rhythm are almost unbeatable. The key is to keep them from finding that rhythm. They lead the NBA averaging 25.1 assists per game and are led by their point guard Tony Parker. He is the maestro that makes their offense go and trying to make him uncomfortable will be key for the Wizards to slow down the Spurs attack.
For the Wizards, Emeka Okafor string of double-doubles was snapped last night as he finished with eight points and ten boards. He and Nene will be critical to the Wizards success tonight as they need to get back to playing inside out.
Another key to the game will be the battle of the 6th man. For the Wizards, their leading scorer, Jordan Crawford, will come off the bench and need to give them an offensive spark. For the Spurs, Manu Ginobili is injured with a sore hamstring so someone else will have to step up off the bench to give the Spurs some bench production.
The action kicks off at 8:30pm.
John Wall went down with a shoulder injury last night, but did say he expects to play tonight vs. the Spurs. In just 23 minutes, he had nine points, seven boards, and six assists last night and is the engine to the Wizards offense. Wall is bigger than Parker and will need to use his size to outmuscle the Spurs point guard. This should be a good one to watch as one of the bright up and coming point guards goes up against the savy veteran.
Tony Parker sometimes gets overlooked when people talk about the best point guards in the league, but he shouldn't, as year after year he puts up the numbers and wins games. He is one of the best at finding the right places on the court to score and always seems to find ways to score around the rim. Showing him some different looks and clogging the lanes will be a good way to try and slow him down as the Wizards look to stop the Spurs attack.
In the below clip, Wall shows off his defense.
In this clip, Wall addressed the media after last night's game.