Published November 14, 2013
SAN ANTONIO – The open shots that fell so easily for the San Antonio Spurs in the first half were bouncing off the rim and the collapsing defense was suddenly on top of them.
San Antonio was out of energy and emotion, which is usually when coach Gregg Popovich turns to Manu Ginobili for a boost. Ginobili is no longer the only player giving the Spurs a jolt of enthusiasm and showmanship off the bench.
Six Spurs scored in double figures, led by Tony Parker with 16 points, and San Antonio never trailed in strolling to a 92-79 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Boris Diaw had 15 points, Kawhi Leonard added 13 points, and Ginobili and Marco Belinelli each had 10 for San Antonio, which has trailed for only 11 seconds in its last four games. Tiago Splitter had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Martell Webster scored 21 points, Bradley Beal added 19 points and John Wall had 14 points and eight assists for Washington, which has lost three straight.
Wall left the game after being raked across the face by Jeff Ayres under the basket. Wall's right eye immediately began to swell and was puffy at the bottom and outside following the game.
San Antonio had 28 assists, with 17 coming from its reserves, including a season-high eight by Belinelli.
"When you have a team like that, not just the first group, but the second group plays the exact same way and third group plays the same way," Beal said. "So, it's really tough when you have a team like that who is capable of just moving the ball, passing the ball, cutting every second; and not getting tired on top of that. That's a great team."
After the starters exploited defensive mismatches early in the game, the second unit of Ginobili, Belinelli, Diaw, Ayres and Patty Mills put on a passing clinic late in the third quarter to keep the Spurs unbeaten at home.
"I was very happy about that," Ginobili said. "The unit that started the third quarter was beginning to wind down on energy. We talked about it with Pop and he asked us to bring it back up, play with more emotion, push the ball and be more aggressive. It really worked out in the end."
After trailing by double digits since early in the second quarter, the Wizards got within 60-57 on a 14-foot, turnaround jumper by Webster with 3:27 left in the third.
San Antonio's second unit regained the edge, with Ginobili hitting a layup high off the glass over three defenders and consecutive 3s by Belinelli and Mills to put the Spurs ahead 68-57 with 1:44 left in the third.
"After 60-57, we came down and took six of the worst shots you could possibly take," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Six. It might be more after I look at the film. Zero or one pass. All of a sudden, we're going to play hero. We can't do that. We don't have a hero here. We got to play with five guys."
The Wizards need only look to the Spurs to see how to share the ball.
After dribbling the ball into the frontcourt, Belinelli fired a pass through the lane to Diaw past several unsuspecting defenders for an open layup.
Belinelli, who signed as a free agent after playing with the Chicago Bulls last season, was 2 for 2 on 3-pointers and doubled his season high in assists.
"I think offensively the last two or three games he has really looked comfortable," Popovich said. "Pump-faking, getting his shot off, finding open people while he's dribbling the ball. He's working hard on defense, so I think he's fitting in really well."
Popovich emptied its bench with about 6 minutes left in the game.
The third unit continued the ball movement, with Nando De Colo picking up two assists in 8 minutes. De Colo drove to the basket and flipped a no-look, two-foot pass to fellow Diaw under the basket for a tip-in layup.
The Spurs held a double digit lead for all but about 15 minutes.
Leonard scored San Antonio's first eight points, first rising over Trevor Ariza for a short jumper off the glass and then draining consecutive 3-pointers.
The Wizards started 2 for 12, having their shots blocked as many times as they went in over the first 7 minutes.
Wall rallied Washington, scoring three consecutive baskets and running Mills down from behind to block an attempted fast-break layup.
NOTES: San Antonio wore camouflage uniforms in honor of its Military Celebration Night. The jerseys were auctioned and autographed by each player after the game with all the proceeds going to the team's Silver and Black Give Back program. ... Spurs F Matt Bonner missed the game with tightness in his left calf. ... Wizards forwards Otto Porter (right hip flexor) and Chris Singleton (fractured left foot) both sat out the game. ... Ariza left the game late in the first half after straining his right hamstring while attempting to run down Leonard on a fast break. Ariza gingerly walked toward Washington's bench after grabbing Leonard's arm from behind to prevent a layup. ... The Wizards have not beaten the Spurs since a 99-89 victory Dec. 11, 1999, in San Antonio.