Opening Statements 15: Wizards vs Spurs — Brooks on Mahinmi's Debut & Pre-Game Pops | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements 15: Wizards vs Spurs — Brooks on Mahinmi’s Debut & Pre-Game Pops

Updated: November 26, 2016

The Wizards still have not beaten the Spurs in San Antonio since 1999, but tonight they have a chance to make it three wins in a row at home versus the five-time NBA champions.

Last season’s win represented so much promise … that was eventually broken. On Nov. 4 2015, Bradley Beal scored a game-high 25 points and hit a sweet step-back jumper at the buzzer to win the game. It boosted the Wizards to a 3-1 record, and then things just sort of went downhill from there. During the CSN television broadcast of Friday night’s game in Orlando, analyst Phil Chenier could not immediately recall whether that shot took place last season or the season prior. It does seem like ages ago.

But there are positives, even as the 5-9 Wizards continue to stumble in the early going. Beal is healthy and seemingly finding his rhythm. And John Wall is healthy, hoping to further build on his rhythm and stamina. Tonight Wall will be playing in his second back-to-back of the season, and many will be observing how he looks after playing almost 39 minutes and carrying his team to victory in Orlando.

Another positive: Ian Mahinmi is set to make his Wizards debut tonight, per Scott Brooks before the game. Here’s the Wizards coach talking about the plan for Mahinmi’s minutes, what he brings to the table, and his role on the offense (particularly in replacing the more offensively inclined Marcin Gortat):

Finally, Gregg Popovich. The Spurs coach didn’t wax too poetic prior the game, but here’s video of his extended pre-game media session where Pops touched on a variety of topics, including:

  • When Scott Brooks visited San Antonio’s training camp during his season out of coaching.
  • Patty Mills and San Antonio’s productive bench.
  • Whether Popovich has ever had to deal with two players with a “tendency to dislike each other on the court,” as Wall said about his relationship with Beal this summer.
  • If he’s received any blowback from his comments regarding President-elect Donald Trump.
  • Who has stepped up as ‘the’ leader for the Spurs in Tim Duncan’s retirement.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.