Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 12th game of the season against the San Antonio Spurs in D.C. are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Andrew McNeill (@drew_48moh), who writes about the Spurs for the ESPN TrueHoop blog 48 Minutes of Hell.
UPDATED: Wizards Starters (0-11):
Shaun Livingston, Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin
(Disclaimer #1: These starters have to change, right?)
Yes, they have changed, to this: A.J. Price, Beal, Trevor Ariza, Seraphin, Emeka Okafor
Spurs Starters (11-3):
Tony Parker, Gary Neal, Danny Green, DeJuan Blair, Tim Duncan
(Disclaimer #2: Will Gregg Popovich rest Parker and Duncan, this being the fourth game of a six-game road trip, one in which the Spurs beat the Raptors in double-overtime in Toronto yesterday? Don’t be surprised if so.)
No, the Spurs did not change their starting lineup, but Gregg Popovich indicated before the game that minutes would be monitored.
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Spurs over the past week?)
@drew_48moh: Good, but tired. Tim Duncan is having an awesome season thus far, and Tony Parker is starting to round into form. That said, both played over 40 minutes in the Spurs’ double-OT win over the Raptors on Sunday afternoon, and I doubt either will play against the Wizards on Monday night.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@drew_48moh: Danny Green. He was a 3-point specialist who played good defense last season, but his offensive role has grown some this year. He’s scoring more moving without the ball (thanks in large part to Tim Duncan’s excellent passing from the high post) and has added the pump-fake-and-take-one-or-two-dribbles-in-and-knock-down-the-jumper move to his game.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
@drew_48moh: Despite Tim Duncan’s greatness as a rebounder, the Spurs are struggling to keep opposing teams off of the offensive glass right now. The more the Wizards can attack the glass and get second-chance opportunities, the better chance they have a notching their first win of the season.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@Truth_About_It: Little things. No one notices them when they are done so much as when they aren’t. The Wizards are 0-6 when they get to the free throw line more than 20 times, they are 0-5 when they get to the line less than 20 times. The Wizards are 0-6 when they have more turnovers than their opponents, they are 0-5 when their turnovers are equal to or less than their opponents. The Wizards have not once held themselves to single-digits in turnovers this season. And maybe those are your magic beans: simply taking care of the ball. Unfortunately, two of Washington’s better scorers, Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin, are ranked third and 13th respectively in the NBA in turnovers per 36 minutes (3.9 and 3.6 — amongst those NBA players who have played at least 150 total minutes this season, via basketball-reference.com). So there’s probably a fair chance that those magic beans aren’t so magical after all.
The Spurs are favored by 5.5 points and the over/under is 191.5 points (via USA Today).
@drew_48moh: I’m a terrible gambler and even worse at predicting lines and scores, but I’d say 5.5 points is a decent line. I expect the Spurs to be without one or all of their “Big 3,” though the Spurs are disciplined enough to still be competitive. That said, when role players are suddenly go-to guys, things often go awry. Wizards 93, Spurs 87.
@Truth_About_It: I’m not sure what to make of this ‘Spurs Big 3 might not play’ deal. In some senses, I’m not sure it matters much, as the Wizards often beat themselves. In another sense, Popovich kindly resting his elders could be the confidence boost the Wizards finally need. But, dammit, I just can’t do it… Just can’t call it a win for Washington. The Wiz Kids will fall to 0-12 by the margin of 94-89, Spurs.
IN OTHER NEWS
- I returned the favor with a Wizards-Spurs preview for the other blog.
[48 Minutes of Hell]
- JaVale McGee is bogarting the ball in Denver.
[Roundball Mining Co.]
- Gilbert Arenas “pulled a hip flexor” during his very first game in China.
- The Arenas deal still haunts Ernie Grunfeld, and Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor are ghouls.
- Manu Ginobili is still doing things like this: