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article imageNBA: Spurs still on road, pounce all over Wizards

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 13, 2011 in Sports
Washington - After embarrassing themselves in Philadelphia the night before, the San Antonio Spurs visited the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Saturday and gave the Wizards a 118-94 pounding to remember.
Shooting a season low 33 percent in field goals against the 76ers and scoring a season low 71 points as well, the Spurs redeemed that performance with a shellacking that Washington might be growing accustomed to. After shooting bricks on Friday night in Philadelphia, the Spurs buried the Wizards on Saturday, shooting 63 percent in the first half.
In defense of their 14-37 record coming into the game, the Wizards were without key players Rashard Lewis, Josh Howard and Al Thornton, still sidelined with injuries.
Playing their fourth game in five nights and hoping to get some rest for his aging veterans, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich changed the starting lineup for the first time this season, with George Hill (0-for-6 shooting against the 76ers) taking over the two-guard spot in place of Manu Ginobili.
Although some might be quick at jumping to a conclusion on the move, especially after Ginobili’s 2-for-10 shooting performance the night before, Popovich is legendary in giving his veteran players rest whenever possible during the seasons‘ second halves.
"I'm a little banged up," Ginobili said, MySA reports. "Aches and pains. Nothing that threatens the season, but they add up, and I needed a rest."
After the Toronto game, Hill said: “Right now, we’re playing as if we’re still trying to get to the playoffs. That’s the mentality you have to have,” according to MySA. Relatively fresh legs during a grueling 82-game season go a long way toward reaching those playoffs.
As cold as the Spurs were on Friday in Philadelphia, shooting bricks for four quarters, they were equally as hot on Saturday against Washington. Jumping out to a quick start in the game, San Antonio went up 8-4 at 9:45 on a pair of Richard Jefferson free throws, and for the most part, the game would soon be over.
The Spurs were soon on an 8-2 run and took an 18-10 lead on a steal and uncontested layup by Tony Parker, causing Wizards coach Flip Saunders to use a timeout.
San Antonio then went up 24-10, stretching the run to 14-2, with 4:42 left in the quarter and Saunders had to use another timeout trying to stop the damage. By that point, Parker had scored 12 points.
Cartier Martin finally nailed a shot to cut the Spurs lead to 26-12, but the Spurs were out to prove a point. The Wizards, with those key injuries, could not match San Antonio’s intensity.
Back-to-back baskets by Washington’s Kirk Hinrich cut the Spurs lead to 31-16, but Parker quickly answered at the other end.
The Wizards’ Nick Young picked up his third foul and headed to the bench with less than a minute left in the first quarter and at the end of one the Spurs were up 37-18, shooting 63 percent from the field. Parker was untouchable in the quarter, scoring 14 points, most of them on hard drives to the basket.
San Antonio scored 16 fast-break points in the first quarter and it was hard to tell that the Spurs were playing their 54th game of the season.
Gary Neal hit a 3-pointer with 10:38 left in the second quarter to push the Spurs lead to 42-18 and Saunders used yet another timeout, greeting the Wizards on the floor.
Washington then went on a 5-2 run on a John Wall scoop layup and a Martin trey to pull within 44-23 and for the most part, that was the highlight for Washington. The Spurs Hill then nailed a pair of threes and Jefferson added one for good measure to put San Antonio up 52-27.
JaVale McGee failed to follow through on a hammer-slam, missing what would have made the highlight films. It was that sort of night for the Wizards as the Spurs were shooting lights out basketball.
Still the deluge poured over Washington, as another Jefferson trey put the Spurs up 67-37.
Gary Neal converted a three-point play to put the Spurs up 72-43. It was their most productive half of the season and surpassed their 71 points scored in the entire game the night before at Philadelphia.
Andray Blatche tipped in a missed Wizards shot with one second left in the half, and the teams headed to the locker rooms with the Spurs up 72-45.
The Spurs hit 7 of 12 3-point attempts in the first half, including 6 of 9 in second quarter.
San Antonio’s defense deflected several Wizards passes with most of those deflections ending up in Spurs hands. The team ended the first half with seven steals and outscored Washington 19-7 on points off turnovers.
They were led by Parker’s 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, followed by Jefferson with 14 points and Hill with 12.
At the end of three quarters the Spurs were up 101-65.
In the fourth quarter, with the game well out of reach and mostly Spurs bench players on the court, the Wizards went on an 11-1 run to cut the lead to 108-79. Fortunately for Washington however, the game eventually ended, but they were on the downside of a 118-94 final tally.
For Washington, Martin and Blatche each scored 16 and McGee added 14.
The Spurs Big Three played a combined 39 minutes in the game, with Parker getting the bulk of those minutes at 19, scoring 18 points during that stretch. Ginobili scored 6 points in eight minutes and Duncan added 6 points in 12 minutes.
Hill contributed 18 points, Neal dropped in 16 and Jefferson added 14. DeJuan Blair added another double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Spurs improved their road record to 20-7, still best in the league. Their overall record went to 45-9, also tops in the NBA. Their current Rodeo Road Trip record went to 5-2, with two games to go on the long road trip. Monday finds them in New Jersey and ending in Chicago on Thursday before the All-Star break.
More about NBA, San antonio spurs, Washington wizards, Rodeo road trip, Tony parker
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