Wizards, Spurs coming off wins for Sunday's matchup
The NBA's dog days before the All-Star break can take a toll on teams, with injuries and a slew of games on consecutive nights affecting who plays -- and how well -- from night to night.
Such is the case with the Washington Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs, who square off Sunday in San Antonio in their first of two games this season.
The Wizards are coming off a 95-91 win over the Magic in Orlando on Friday, a day after losing at home to Golden State 126-118. Washington is 6-2 on the second night of back-to-backs.
Despite not getting to central Florida until the wee hours Friday, the Wizards were able to respond when Orlando rallied to take a brief lead late in the game.
"It was a big win for us," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after the victory. "There's a lot of factors, a lot of things that we can use an excuse, but our team's not going to do that. We did get in late. We were sharing the basketball. Overall we played with a lot of grit, and that's how you have to play to win on the road."
Bradley Beal led Washington with 27 points, while Jeff Green added a season-high 24 in the Wizards' third win in their past four games.
"We gutted this one out, and we fought through the lapses that we had, and we found a way to win," Green told WashingtonWizards.com.
"We were making the extra pass, the right pass and for each other. We have guys who can score and who can shoot. We have guys who can penetrate, get to the rim, and get to the paint, and today we found a way to do both," he said.
The Spurs will be back home for the second game of a road-home back-to-back, and from a two-game road trip that produced a two-point loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday and a 126-114 win in New Orleans on Saturday night. The win snapped a two-game losing streak.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Saturday's victory with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Rudy Gay hit for 22 points and 11 boards before leaving midway through the final period with a left ankle sprain.
San Antonio played without guard DeMar DeRozan (sore left knee) and reserve forward Davis Bertans (personal reasons).
Veteran center Pau Gasol started in San Antonio's adjusted lineup and logged 22 minutes, his most since returning to the team in late December after missing 26 games with a sore left foot.
In the nine games since his return prior to Saturday, Gasol had averaged 2.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 10.3 minutes, with a high of 20 minutes on Jan. 9 in a loss at Memphis. He scored 13 points and took 11 rebounds in the win over New Orleans.
"I've done my best to stay ready and to get back on the floor to do what I love to do," said Gasol, who is in his 18th NBA season. "It's been different than what I expected or anticipated.
"I've been working hard and staying positive and dealing with the situation with maturity and wisdom and professionalism," Gasol told the San Antonio Express News after practice Friday.
The teams split their two games last season. San Antonio owns a 58-33 all-time advantage over the Wizards and has a 36-10 edge at home.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 26, 2019