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Game Notebook 24: Spurs Put The Clamps On Wizards

Spurs 114
Wizards 95

December 16, 2015 – AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

ESPN Box Score

Clamps. Clamps are commonly used in construction, carpentry, surgery, to grip, strengthen and tighten an object that may otherwise slip out of control.

The San Antonio Spurs have been putting clamps to use in professional basketball this season, locking down opponents and suffocating their way to win after win after win.

Add the Washington Wizards to their list of victims.

The game started with promise. Tim Duncan, the anchor of the Spurs defense, was resting, and the Spurs came out of the blocks with their vice not fully locked in. The Wizards took advantage, scoring 31 first quarter points, the highest first quarter output by any opponent this season. They were able to find openings for lay-ups, en route to 47% shooting in the first half. However, the Spurs, though not at optimal performance, were still the Spurs. They cleaned the glass, allowing only two first half offensive rebounds. And the Spurs bench added 23 bench points, pacing the Spurs on their way to a 55-52 half time lead.

But at half time, coach Popovich went from Pop, to this:

image

The Spurs tightened the clamps. First, they got the Wizards under control, neutralizing the Wizards offense, taking away good looks, and forcing turnovers leading to transition baskets.

And then they kept going, tightening the clamps, ratcheting up the pressure until the Wizards started doing things like this:

By the end of the third, the Wizards were left suffocated and breathless, trailing by 15 points, with the end result all but official. The Spurs loosened their grip in the fourth, but it didn’t matter. The limp, lifeless body of the Wizards had no chance left, as the Spurs finished holding them to 41 % shooting, and cruised to an easy 114-95 win.


#WizSpurs in a tweet..


The Game’s Top Performer:

Kawhi Leonard

The Claw was stellar, on both ends. He scored 27 points om 9/27 shooting, including 4/7 from three point range. And he was EVERYWHERE on defense. Poor Otto Porter could barely get a touch on the ball.


A forgettable night for..

Gary Neal

Poor Gary Neal. It seems like every game, he’s either a top performer, or here. Tonight, he was forgettable. He committed two early fouls, forcing him to the bench. While he played, he wasn’t much better, shooting just 3/10 for just 8 points, and did not even get off a three point attempt.


Notable:

Kelly Oubre Jr. The lone bright spot on an otherwise dark night, Oubre looked downright PROFESSIONAL. He scored a career high 18 points, had a few spectacular dunks, and hit two threes (out of seven), and did not commit a turnover. He played with great energy, great confidence, played solid defense, and generally seemed to be in the right place at the right time all night long. Given an opportunity, Oubre looked like he belonged on the court with his teammates, and with the San Antonio Spurs. That’s everything we could hope for at this stage in his career.

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