For two quarters, the Wizards held their own with the San Antonio Spurs until they went cold in the second half in a 114-95 loss at AT&T Center and ended this Western Conference road trip 1-3.
Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 27 points on 9-for-15 shooting followed by LaMarcus Aldridge with 14 points. Tony Parker had 10 points and 10 assists.
John Wall had 20 points, 11 assists and five rebounds and Marcin Gortat had 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks as the Wizards (10-14) lost their second in a row. Rookie Kelly Oubre had a career-high 18 points. Ramon Sessions had 10 points.
Although the Wizards won 102-99 in an early-season meeting in D.C., they haven't won here since 1999 for 16th losses in a row. The Spurs (22-5) are 14-0 at home.
Had the Wizards defeated the New Orleans Pelicans the way they should've when this swing began instead of losing 107-105, they'd have something to build on.
- Coach Randy Wittman went to Gary Neal and Kris Humphries in the starting lineup over Garrett Temple and Jared Dudley. The Wizards needed more size with Aldridge and David West starting and more offense to keep pace with the Spurs. Both were good moves despite Neal getting two fouls and going to the bench less than two minutes into the game. Humphries also is better when not worrying about stretch to the three-point line. The Spurs don't take a lot of them and West doesn't extend that far which made it a better fit for Humphries defensively, too.
- The Wizards shot just 1-for-7 from three-point range in the first half with Wall accounting for their only make as they trailed 55-52 at the break. Without Bradley Beal (leg), this is where Otto Porter has to do better. He only took two shots and missed a wide-open look from the corner in the first 24 minutes. Porter will continually have that open look. If he ever starts to hit it, the floor will open up even more for Wall. Porter didn't convert his first field goal until 9:09 of the third quarter and finished with just two points for the second game in a row. He shot 1-for-6 with two rebounds and one assist. Apparently Porter has a bit of an excuse. He's playing hurt and lateral movement is difficult. He bruised his thigh and only played 23 minutes.
- Leonard was unstoppable. He hit the long ball and was able to free himself with the jab step for the mid-range jumper. None of his shots was forced as they came in the flow of the offense and on ball movement. It's hard to remember who was on the floor with him which is how dominant he was for four quarters.
- The lull coming out of the locker room after halftime (a frequent occurrence) proved to be the difference. The Wizards shot 7-for-23 in the third quarter and trailed 86-71 entering the fourth. That's too step to recover for a team as depleted as the Wizards vs. a team this good at home. Even worse, was the blatant lack of hustle. After an errant pass from Wall to Humphries, neither him nor Porter got back to stop an uncontested dunk by Leonard. The Spurs shot 13 of 25 in the third, or 52%. They had 11 assists. Ball movement kills.
- Oubre played his best of the season. He was on the floor when the Wizards trailed by nine late in the second quarter and contributed to them cutting that deficit to three by halftime. He was active on the boards and in the paint, getting to the foul line four times and converting each. His athleticism showed when he cut down the baseline and got to the rim for a double-clutch shot over the 7-3 Boban Marjanovich. Oubre switched onto Parker, didn't bite his multiple pump fakes and used his 7-2 wingspan to force him into a traveling violation. Oubre disrupted Leonard's dribble by stripping him, slid over to cover Marjanovich and forced another travel. And then he used a pump fake to free himself in the corner to throw down a spectacular dunk over Boris Diaw. This is how Oubre will have to create to have an impact until he gets comfortable on the floor. His athleticism is striking as well as his ability to finish in traffic.