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Wizards at Spurs Pregame: This Could Get Ugly

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Regular Season Game 24

Washington (10-13) at San Antonio (21-5)

December 16, 2015 at 8:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

March 29, 2015 at Verizon Center, Washington: Rockets 99, Wizards 91
READ: Game Notebook 4, Wizards vs. Spurs: The Ruthlessness Of Bradley Beal


What to watch

What a difference a month makes. The first time the Wizards played the San Antonio Spurs, the Wizards won in dramatic fashion, with Bradley Beal emerging as the bonafide Dragon Warrior. Beal’s buzzer beater set the Phone Booth on fire, gave the Wizards a 3-1 record, and dealt the Spurs their 2nd loss in their first five games.

Since that shot, the Wizards are 7-12, and Beal has struggled through nagging injuries and waning confidence, the same stuff that seems to hold him back every year, and the Wizards have fallen to 12th in the Eastern Conference.

Since that shot, the Spurs are 18-3, and sport the NBA’s best defense (BY FAR), and the NBA’s best point differential (YES, better than the Warriors). While conversations surrounding the Wizards center around making the playoffs, conversations surrounding the Spurs center around whether they are actually the best team in the NBA. What a difference a month makes.


Key matchup

Wizards Psyche vs. The NBA’s Best D.

The San Antonio Spurs lead the NBA in 20 point wins this season. Those victories, and most of their others, have been driven by a defense posting a historically dominant defensive rating (91.8 per NBA.com). The difference between the Spurs and the 2nd ranked Heat is greater than the difference between the Heat and the FOURTEENTH ranked Atlanta Hawks. They are posting one of the best defensive ratings in NBA history. They have won their last three games by 22, 25, and 36 points. In their last game against a very good Utah Jazz team, they led at one point by 46. Two games ago, they held the Atlanta Hawks to 25 points in the first half. They beat the 76ers by 51. Is there ANY hope?

Maybe! The Spurs play slow, and the Wizards play fast. If the Wizards can impose their will and tempo on this game, they just might be able to steal another game against the Spurs. Then again…


X-factor:

Home Court. The Spurs have an NBA best 13-0 record at home this season. The Wizards served Cleveland their first home loss of the year. The Spurs are not Cleveland.


Fun factor:

Defense! If you love the cerebral part of the game of basketball, beyond the highlights and the points, this is the game for you. Pay close attention while the Spurs move in unison on defense, tied together as one shot engulfing amoebic blob. Watch Duncan and Aldridge contest shots without fouling. Watch Ramon Sessions try his foul inducing moves to no avail. Don’t watch John Wall jump to pass, to no avail. And watch Kawhi Leonard take calculated gambles, disrupt passing lanes, surprise unsuspecting ball handles, and still recover in time to recover to his man, or help his teammates. Sometimes defense is boring. Sometimes defense is beautiful. In the Alamo, the defense is beautiful.


Prediction:

This could get ugly.

we are Hoop District

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