Washington Wizards v San Antonio Spurs
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Ish Smith #14 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs on January 1, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards drop close battle with Spurs, 124-122

The Wizards fought to the end on Saturday night in San Antonio, but ultimately lost 124-122. After a back-and-forth game with 23 lead changes and 17 ties, Bradley Beal’s shot was blocked by Derrick White as time expired.

Beal led the Wizards with 25 points and 11 assists, while Davis Bertans added 23 in his return to San Antonio. The Spurs made Bertans a tribute video before the game for his time with the team, and he returned the favor by making all seven of his field goal attempts, including five triples. Ish Smith also had a big game for the Wizards, scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting and pacing the team in the first half.

“The way we battled and played on the back-to-back, I think we deserved the win,” Bertans said after the game. “We had some mistakes here and there we can’t afford to have those, but I am proud of the team on how we battled the whole game.”

Rui Hachimura and Isaiah Thomas both scored 16 points, as the Wizards shot 49.5% from the field overall and 47.1% from deep. Through three games, Hachimura is now averaging 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Thomas, who played in an NBA game for the first time in six months, made 6-of-12 field goals and will only play better from here.

Until the fourth quarter, the Wizards held the Spurs to 41.9% shooting from the field; however, in the fourth, the Spurs went 14-of-22 (63.6%) from the field. DeMar DeRozan scored 10 of his 26 points in the final frame, including the game-winning bucket. LaMarcus Aldridge added 27 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, while Dejounte Murray had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

San Antonio won the rebounding battle 53-41, including 21 offensive rebounds. Still, the Wizards held the Spurs to only 18 second chance points (8-of-23 shooting). In the paint, the Spurs outscored the Wizards 62-46, winning the battle inside.

The result was not what the Wizards wanted, but Washington gave a spirited effort against a tough team in an even tougher environment. Though the Wizards ended the road trip 1-2, the Brooks and Beal both said after the game that they like the way the team is playing so far this season.

”We are going to be a team that is effort, together, and team based,” Coach Brooks said postgame. “If you can do those things, then we are going to be in good shape and win our share of games. San Antonio is obviously a great team and coach, but our guys battled and fought, and it could have gone either way.”

The Wizards will host the Rockets on Wednesday for the team’s home opener at 8:00 P.M.


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