The offense was flowing all night long as the shorthanded Wizards dropped the Spurs 136-124 in Washington. Corey Kispert poured in a career-high 26 points. Delon Wright was right behind him with a season-high 24 of his own.
A COMPETITIVE START
Both the Wizards and Spurs were without key players on Friday night. Bradley Beal was sidelined for his second consecutive game with left knee soreness, and Kyle Kuzma missed his third consecutive game due to a right ankle sprain. The Spurs were without Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, and Zach Collins, among others. But both of these teams fought hard and kept the game competitive for the first three quarters.
The first quarter was mostly back-and-forth until a late 10-2 run helped give the Wizards a 33-26 lead after one. The second quarter was full of runs for both sides. Doug McDermott gave the Spurs a big spark early in the quarter with a pair of threes and an and-one dunk, giving him a fiery nine points in less than one minute. The Wizards followed that up with a 15-4 run spearheaded by crisp passing and shot-making. But it was the Spurs who got the last laugh in the second quarter. They responded to the Wizards' 15-4 run with a 9-0 burst of their own and went on to outscore the Wizards 17-8 to end the half, pulling themselves back within four. The score at halftime: Wizards 66, Spurs 62.
Kristaps Porzingis shouldered the load for the majority of the first half. He was scoring with ease, finding open teammates, rebounding the ball aggressively, and swatting shots. At halftime, he had 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, and three blocks. The game looked easy for him.
The third quarter was similar to the second. A couple of big runs by both teams swung the momentum like a pendulum. The Spurs went on a 14-2 run midway through the quarter, but the Wizards closed nicely, taking a one-point lead into the fourth and final quarter.
DELON WRIGHT GRABBED THE WHEEL
Wright had a solid first half, scoring six points, grabbing five rebounds, and dishing out two assists, but he took everything up a level in the second half. In the third quarter, when the Spurs were pushing all of their chips into the middle and making their big move, Wright was the guy who had all the answers. He scored seven points in the quarter on 3-of-3 shooting from the field, but it was his final bucket that made the biggest difference.
The Spurs held a one-point lead as the third quarter was coming to a close until Wright split the defense and finished the move with a gorgeous floater at the buzzer to flip the score, giving the Wizards a one-point lead heading into the final frame. On the opening possession of the fourth quarter, he stepped into a three and drained it. Those two plays set the tone for the final 12 minutes.
"Definitely a big stretch," said Wright when asked about his two big plays. "They started to make a run, and we let them stay in the game... We had to buckle down and start hitting some shots and getting some stops."
A DOMINANT FOURTH QUARTER
After Wright's floater at the third-quarter buzzer and three-ball to open the fourth, everything was going the way of the Wizards. Wright continued to score. Daniel Gafford was rocking the rim. Kispert was knocking down shots. Jordan Goodwin was doing a little bit of everything. And the Wizards opened the quarter on a 24-8 run, taking a 15-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game.
San Antonio had a night full of runs, but they didn't have any more in stock for the end of the game. Final score: Wizards 136, Spurs 124.
The catalyst behind this Wizards win was their connectivity on offense which led to a steady barrage of points. The Wizards scored at least 33 points in each quarter and seemingly got better as the game went on. They dished out 29 assists (one shy of head coach Wes Unseld Jr.'s oft-mentioned, albeit lofty, nightly goal of 30) and shot the lights out, knocking down 60% of their field goals and 50% of their threes.
One of the most impressive aspects of Washington's offensive performance was the involvement of everyone. Five players scored at least 17 points. Kispert led the way with a career-high 26 on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 6-of-9 shooting from deep. Wright dropped a season-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Porzingis scored 23 points in only 28 minutes. Deni Avdija had one of his best games of the season, scoring 21 points while adding 11 boards and six assists. And Jordan Goodwin notched 17 points.
"In general, I thought we continued to try to play together," said Unseld Jr. "It's tough at times when you're down some marquee scorers. It's going to change how you play at times. But throughout, for the most part, I thought we kept a pretty good offensive rhythm."