Feb 2, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) is charged with a foul on San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) during the second half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs Washington Wizards preview

The Wizards are coming off wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and most recently the Portland Trail Blazers. They’ve finally gotten over the .500 mark for the first time since 2009, and needless to say, they’re on a roll. They continue their homestand tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. The game tips off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

Despite being one of the best point guards in the league and a perennial MVP contender, Tony Parker has constantly flown under the radar amongst casual NBA fans. Unlike a lot of the top point guards, including John Wall, Parker doesn’t possess the elite athleticism or flash, but he still manages to get the job done effectively.  With Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard out with injuries, Parker has stepped up, and the Spurs are still one of the leading powerhouses in the West. Parker’s responsibility has grown with a list of injuries sidelining a number of San Antonio’s key players, but Parker has made up for their absence. He scored 32 points and dished out 9 assists in their last game against the New Orleans Pelicans, and he’s historically always given the Wizards trouble.

John Wall has been terrific defensively this season, especially against other top point guards. The Wizards have lost their last 16 match ups against the Spurs, but that could change tonight, especially since they’re coming to the nation’s capital with a depleted squad. When asked about other top point guards in the league, Wall always goes out of his way to mention Tony Parker and the improvements he’s made throughout the years, and he could, in some way, become a player Wall could model his game after in future seasons. Both guards are lightning quick, but Parker is very elusive with the ball, making him an extremely tough player to guard. If Wall keeps Parker out of the paint, forcing him to create from the perimeter, San Antonio will have a hard time scoring the ball. The outcome of the game may depend on the Wall-Parker match up.

Notes:

  • The Spurs have only lost 5 games away from home and have dominated the Wizards at Verizon Center. Washington got over the .500 hump on Monday and they’ll have a chance to get over their woes against the Spurs tonight.
  • San Antonio is top-10 in scoring and top-5 defensively, in terms of efficiency. Even though they’ve gotten older, the Spurs are obviously still a top team in the NBA.
  • Washington has done a pretty good job at controlling the rebounds against top rebounding teams this season, and they might have a significant advantage over the Spurs tonight in that aspect. San Antonio is 21st in rebounding.

Prediction:

It might seem like the Wizards have finally turned the corner and gotten over the mental hurdle, but I still think it’s too early to tell. Games like tonight will determine if the Wizards are truly ready to consistently stay competitive against top teams, especially those in the Western Conference.

The Spurs are missing a lot of key players, which obviously gives the Wizards a better chance at continuing their success against top teams tonight. San Antonio obliterated Washington the last time they matched up, but I think tonight might be a bit different. As with any Wizards game, it’s nearly impossible to predict the outcome, given how inconsistent the team has been this season, but I think they’ll get the win tonight. John Wall and Bradley Beal might be too much to handle for San Antonio, while Marcin Gortat and Nene should be able to handle themselves against Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter.

Let’s hope the Wizards could continue their winning ways, especially since it would be a huge confidence booster now that their schedule is going to ease up after these tough string of games.

 

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