Instead of looking at the final play of the Wizards' 107-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, when Otto Porter got the ball from Markieff Morris on the double-team and turned the corner for a good look at the basket that didn't go down, it's the way quarters ended that hurt them most.
The Wizards (6-12) had an 11-point lead in the first half that evaporated and came back to take the lead 103-102 on a three-point shot by Bradley Beal with 53.4 seconds left. But the one thing the Wizards had done a good job of all game, rebounding (43-37 edge), backfired late.
LaMarcus Aldridge grabbed an offensive rebound on a miss by Patty Mills and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called a timeout and re-inserted Danny Green in the lineup. His three-pointer, his only made shot of the game, put them up 105-103 and after John Wall tied it for the Wizards with a strong drive it was Kawhi Leonard knocking down the game-winner for San Antonio.
"Getting that first-quarter shot and (the one) they got at halftime, that's five points," Wall said. "That's a big swing. ... The ways they ended the quarter gave them some momentum."
With 46.7 seconds left in the first quarter, the Wizards allowed an open three-pointer from Mills and allowed Manu Ginobili to bank in a 14-foot bucket at the buzzer. A 28-19 lead melted to 28-24.
They'd force a miss again to end the second, with David Lee not converting two layups, only to have Ginobili steal the outlet pass with 1.9 seconds left to nail a 33-foot three-pointer. A 60-54 lead became 60-57 at halftime.
Then an inefficient ending to the third quarter is where the Wizards finally lost the game, getting three turnovers in the last 2:14 and allowing a 7-1 run to trail 80-74 entering the fourth.
These are the botched spots when the Wizards could've secured their first win in San Antonio since 1999.
"Pissed," Wall said of the locker room mood. "Let another one go. ... There are about seven games already this season for us that can haunt us (in regards to playoffs)."
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said the final play called out of the timeout was for Beal on a curl to the basket but the passing lane wasn't there. Still, it goes back to how they ended quarters in the first three 12-minute sessions that set the table for disappoinment at the end.
"They scored every possession down the stretch of every quarter," Brooks said. "I'm happy that we're playing hard, playing together. But I'm not happy we're not getting wins."