The Washington Times - March 12, 2012, 02:51PM

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — The Washington Wizards (9-30) have a tough task to begin their longest road trip of the season, against the smart, veteran San Antonio Spurs (26-13). The Spurs are 15-4 at home, and the Wizards have won just three road games this season, against the Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, and Portland Trail Blazers. 

The Spurs won the NBA Championship during the last lockout-shortened season the 1998-1999 season. That year, the league played a 50-game schedule, so the Spurs have already proven that they know how to handle a condensed, truncated post-lockout schedule. Coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t hesitate to sit players when they need a rest, as he prepares for the playoffs, which start in about eight weeks.


The Spurs are coming off on an embarrassing 120-108 loss to the L.A. Clipper on Friday, and will likely try and put the Wizards away early if they can. Tony Parker sat out that game, but is expected back for Monday’s game. It will be the Parker - John Wall matchup that could help set the tone. 

Parker, 29, has been in the league for 10 seasons, is averaging 19.5 points per game, and 7.9 assists, and was selected to his fourth All-Star team this year. Wall is averaging 17.4 points and 7.8 assists per game. 

Parker is a member of the Spurs highly touted Big Three, including Manu Ginobili, and future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. The Spurs also have one of the league’s best rookies in forward Kawhi Leonard, the 6-foot-7 forward out of San Diego State. 

The Spurs will be without guard T.J. Ford, who has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team, due to a series of neck and spine injuries he has suffered from during his eight-year career. Ford, 28, signed with the Spurs in December. For is expected to miss the rest of the season, and is said to be considering retirement. 

The Wizards lost their last game to the Portland Trail Blazers largely because they fell apart on the defensive end. If they do that against the Spurs, this one could be over quickly.