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Wizards vs. Spurs Pregame: Slow Down, Kawhi

Regular Season Game 15

Spurs (13-3) at Wizards (5-9)

November 26, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM


Last time they met was..

December 16, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington: Spurs 114, Wizards 95
Game Notebook 24: Spurs Put The Clamps On Wizards


What to watch

A barrage of pick pockets from both John Wall and Kawhi Leonard. Both players are extremely talented in that department. No doubt they will both have at least two steals.

Now for everyone else, aside from the Spurs perfect ball movement and play in general, look for the Wizards to try and keep their win streak going. A win against the Spurs is good for any team to have on their resume and if the Wizards can add this W to theirs, they may be relevant again.

Defense has been a bit problematic for the Wizards so far this season and has been the cause of many close games losses. The Spurs have a flow to their offense like no other, and just holding them under 100 points would be a moral success. Most match ups fall the Wizards way, so they need to win the ones they have (aka Wall, Beal, and Gortat need to show out tonight).


Key Matchup

Otto Porter vs Kawhi Leonard.

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Porter has proven his defensive game has improved. Who better to showcase that against than one of the most low key best scorers in the league. The interesting part of this duo is that both players are very long, with Kawhi and Otto both having wingspans that stretch beyond seven feet. Otto is in a contract year and if he wants a Bradley-Beal-type pay day, this is a statement game for him. Leonard will get his, however holding him under 20 could be the difference between a win and a loss for the Wizards.


X-Factor:

The Wizards bench.

Having been inconsistent all year, the bench will be needed tonight more than ever. The Spurs have been and always will be one of the deepest teams in the league. No matter their lineup, every single player is a threat. It has been commonplace for the Wiz starters to get a comfortable lead, then have their rest cut short because the reserves can never hold it. Every bench player has been streaky, now they need to be streaky together and put together a solid defensive showing.

I seem to be making the same point for everyone. DEFENSE. Always an x-factor for the Wizards because you never know how they’ll show up. Some nights John Wall will swat two layups into the fifth row; sometimes Marc Gasol will hit a game tying three and the Wiz will lose in overtime. Its a crap shoot. We are not asking for anything special. Just guard your man, and do not get caught on pick and rolls.


Fun Factor:

We get to watch the Spurs play!

Like it or not San Antonio plays the most beautiful style of basketball you can ask for. Back door cuts, beautiful passes, team defense, and flashy plays from their new team leader in Kawhi Leonard. Nobody plays “old man basketball” anymore. But goddamn is it efficient. Not flashy, not overly exciting, but it brings wins. This is why you only hear about the Spurs in the beginning and the end of the season. They never lose momentum, they are simply consistent. Regardless of who you root for, be excited to watch an incredible team take the floor tonight.


Prediction

Wizards keep it close for a while, however are unable to keep pace with the consistency of the Spurs offense and lock down capability of Kawhi Leonard. LaMarcus Aldridge is going to have fun with Markieff Morris and have a 20 and 10 night.

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