SAN ANTONIO – It was not easy, but the San Antonio Spurs were able to pull off their 14th win in a row at home to open the season with a 114-95 victory over the Washington Wizards Wednesday night.
Earlier this season, the Wizards gave the Spurs one of their only five losses. Still without their top player Bradley Beal, the Wizards made it a game, at least in the first half.
Washington outscored the Spurs 31-26 in the first quarter. Marcin Gortat led with 10 points and John Wall had 9 points and 3 assists.
"We were kind of behind them in the first half, always chasing them from behind,” said Manu Ginobili. "We let Wall find whoever he wanted."
The Wizards scored 16 points in the paint and shot 60 percent.
In the second quarter, the Spurs turned up the pressure and got some help from their bench.
With Tim Duncan in street clothes, getting rest, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called on Boban Marjanovic to help close down the paint.
Marjanovic got a couple of blocked shots and altered a few more, and threw down a big dunk. He finished with 7 points and 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 15 minutes.
"I feel great, I tried to help my teammates," Marjanovic said. "I feel much more comfortable and I feel good here on the court."
"I like his height," Popovich said of the 7- foot- 3 Marjanovic. "He uses it well, it helps him on the offensive board, he's a great target on pick and rolls, besides that he is trying to change shots.
The Spurs held the Wizards to 35 percent shooting in the second quarter. Tony Parker had 6 in the quarter and the Spurs were up 3 at the half, 55-52.
In the third quarter, they started to look like a team that dominates their opponents at home.
Kawhi Leonard went off for 11 in the quarter. Once again they shut down Washington only allowing 19 points on 30 percent shooting.
"Started with Tony and Kawhi, the Jedi's, they came in and they sparked us," said Danny Green who agreed the force was the defense.
The Spurs got the lead to 22 points and once again cruised to another double digit lead.
"We are feeling good. We are not in a mood that we think we are going to beat everybody and we’re better than everybody. We still know we have a lot to improve and we can be better,” Ginobili said.
Friday they will find out how much better when they face the Clippers for the first time since they lost to LA in the first round of the playoffs last year.
Danny Green is a huge Star Wars fan. He said he is going to try and see the movie. His favorite character is Yoda, "anybody that can talk backwards is a genius man."
Wizards: Beal missed his fourth straight game with a stress reaction in his lower right fibula. He missed three games earlier this season with a sore left shoulder. ... Former Spurs player DeJuan Blair was booed when he entered the game and shot free throws. ... Washington's last victory in San Antonio was 99-89 on Dec. 11, 1999.
Spurs: Leonard has scored at least 20 points in 16 games this season, including a current streak of four straight. ... Duncan missed his third game this season, all due to rest. The Spurs have missed 14 total games this season, with five being for rest ... The Spurs' last regular-season loss at home was in overtime to Cleveland on March 12.
Wizards: Host Charlotte on Saturday night.
Spurs: Host Clippers on Friday night.