With San Antonio up four points and 8 ticks left in overtime, a timeout gave handfuls of fans the opportunity to scurry for the parking lot. But John Wall hit a quick reverse layup with 6 seconds remaining and the Spurs – up two with the ball – advanced to half court with a timeout. Wall wasn’t done, jumping in front of Patty Mills to intercept Tim Duncan’s lazy inbounds pass and go the length of the court to score the tying layup with 1.4 seconds left.
Duncan, who finished with a season-high 31 points, fouled out early in the second overtime, but San Antonio would control the extra period with impressive production from their bench. The victory gives the Spurs their sixteenth consecutive against the Wizards and was labeled by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich as one of the finest wins he’s ever been associated with.
“It's a frustrating loss because we had that game,” said center Marcin Gortat. “We thought that we were going to break history today and we were going to finally beat them after nine years, but I guess we will have to wait another six months.”
The Wizards led 62-48 at the half, but came out “lackadaisical,” said head coach Randy Wittman. The Spurs went on a 9-0 run to start the third quarter and from then on, it was a dogfight. Washington went up five points with less than two minutes to go in the fourth, but a Mills three-pointer and Duncan floater knotted it up, setting up free basketball for the 15,791 in attendance.
Wall led the Wizards with 29 points and nine assists, but despite his heroics to conclude the first overtime, the all-star missed all six of his shots in the final five minutes. Bradley Beal contributed 19 points but sat out the second overtime after a concussion scare.
Tim Duncan of the Spurs tries to juke Nene of the Wizards. San Antonio defeated Washington 125-118 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, February 5, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
Manu Ginobili was out with a strained hamstring and Tony Parker played only 19 minutes for the Spurs, taking a seat after the first half with tightness in his lower back. Backup point guard Mills shined in his absence, scoring 23 points in just 20 minutes. Sharpshooter Danny Green added 22 points to the double-overtime effort.
Ball-screen switching was an issue for the Wizards, according to Coach Wittman and spoiled the chance for a third-straight win against another elite team.
“We fought and made a heck of an effort to tie the game there at the end, but because of our undisciplined defensively, guys got hot,” he said. “Green got hot, Mills, Belinelli, and its all because ours taking short cuts.”
It all came back to Duncan though – the Spurs’ only established star left on the floor – who beat up Gortat on the offensive end, scoring at will. He connected on 13 of 20 shots and added 11 rebounds to help lead the second-half surge.
“We had a lot of guys put a lot of minutes in and it was an incredibly physical game and just a great comeback for us and a really good win for us on the road,” said Duncan. “This is a very, very good team…they have an identity that’s a lot different than [Wizards] teams in the past that we’ve played.”
The Wizards look to get back on track Friday when they host Cleveland in their first Eastern Conference matchup in eight games. Perhaps the shift will push some big wins against the West to the background.
“Those games, right now, are so small,” said Gortat. “We look at the bigger picture: playoffs and good positions for players…we’ve got to keep working on our stuff and we have to come ready to play, every single day. That’s the most important thing for us.”