John Wall broke yet another personal 0-for-forever streak, this one against an entire team, scoring 25 points with eight assists Tuesday night in a 101-93 win over the San Antonio Spurs that gave him his first taste of success against the reigning NBA champs.
Wall had been 0-7 against the Spurs since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010, and the Wizards as a whole had not beaten San Antonio since Nov. 12, 2005 — a streak of 17 games.
Wall has been bursting similar barriers all season: He had a 0-6 one-on-one history against Chris Paul before last month’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers, and last week’s victory over the Chicago Bulls ended a 0-5 mark of futility against Derrick Rose.
Wall didn’t score in the fourth quarter, when back-to-back blocks by teammates Kevin Seraphin and Bradley Beal swung the momentum, and consecutive turnovers by the usually sure-handed Manu Ginobili essentially sealed the game for the Wizards.
Tim Duncan had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Tony Parker scored 14 points for the Spurs, who are having a more inconsistent season than the San Antonio norm because of injuries. Ginobili returned after missing one game with back spasms, and Marco Belinelli missed his second consecutive game with a mildly strained left groin.
The game was a pleasure-to-watch contrast in strengths, and the back-and-forth competitiveness involving major players (Wall, Duncan) and role players (Seraphin, Jeff Ayres) made it easily one of the best games this season at the Verizon Center.
The Spurs took better care of the ball, but the Wizards shot and rebounded it better. San Antonio committed only two first-half turnovers but was sloppy at the end of the game, and finished with assists on 26 of its 38 field goals. The Wizards shot 61 percent in the first quarter and 49 percent for the game. Marcin Gortat, who had 11 rebounds, led a 48-34 advantage on the boards.
As a consequence, neither team could pull away. Every mini-run was answered almost immediately. The biggest lead was 11, when the Wizards opened the second half on an 8-0 run to take a 59-48 lead, but Duncan’s dunk soon pulled the Spurs back within one.
Boris Diaw’s hook shot to start the fourth quarter gave the Spurs their first lead since 10-9, but the Wizards gained the momentum with the back-to-back blocks — Seraphin on Ayres, Beal on Parker — and led by five with just over 3 minutes remaining.
Then came two turnovers by Ginobili, followed by Nene’s layup with 1:16 remaining that put the Wizards up by eight.
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