San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - With the worst month in recent memory behind them, the San Antonio Spurs shot better than 55 percent in their first game of 2015 and beat the Washington Wizards, 101-92.
Cory Joseph scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and Boris Diaw dropped 12 of his 14 in the second, as the Spurs rallied past the struggling Wizards.
"If I can go help the team, I'm going to go help the team," said Joseph, who was playing through a sickness. "I felt like I could go after the first couple minutes, so I kept on playing."
Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills added 16 and 15 points, respectively, for San Antonio, which finished December with a losing record (8-10). It was San Antonio's first losing month since February, 1999.
John Wall and Bradley Beal led six Wizards in double figures with 15 points apiece. They fell to 1-3 on a five-game Western Conference road trip. It was their 17th straight loss to the Spurs.
"Shots weren't going down, but we weren't executing," said Wall. "We didn't run the plays, we took bad shots."
Washington owned the biggest lead of the first half at 51-41 following Kevin Seraphin's three-point play at 6:50 of the second quarter. The Spurs cut into the deficit with a 6-0 run, then erased it with six of the final eight points before halftime.
Joseph and Manu Ginobili made layups around an Otto Porter jumper, and Joseph beat the buzzer with a turnaround jumper to make it 58-58 at halftime.
The third quarter played much like the second, with Washington creating a bit of distance and San Antonio fighting back. Wall's finger roll capped a 10-0 run that spanned two Spurs timeouts and left the Wizards with a 73-66 lead. From there, Diaw took over with three straight baskets, and Marco Belinelli put the Spurs back up with a jumper off an assist from Diaw.
Diaw continued his strong play into the fourth, bookending a 6-2 run with baskets to open the frame and make it 84-79. Later, he got a difficult reverse layup to fall during a 7-0 flurry that also included four points from Belinelli. That layup made it 98-88, and the Spurs held on from there.
The Spurs haven't lost in this series since November, 2005 ... The Spurs were shorthanded once again, as Kawhi Leonard (hand) and Tony Parker (hamstring) were sidelined with injuries ... These two teams meet again in Washington on Jan. 13 ... Nene and Marcin Gortat scored 12 apiece for Washington.