Washington Wizards vs San Antonio Spurs

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The Washington Wizards (3-8) will finally get to return to action after being off since January 11 due to a COVID outbreak on the team. That outbreak forced the postponement of six games, and several members of the Wizards are still under the health and safety protocol. That means the Wizards will be incredibly short-handed when they take on the San Antonio Spurs.

The last time Washington played, they defeated the Phoenix Suns 128-107. Bradley Beal scored 34 points, while Robin Lopez recorded 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Wizards built a 32 point first-half lead. That win is barely worth mentioning because of who will not be suited for the Wizards, but at least they have the chance to start a winning streak.

The San Antonio Spurs (8-8) are looking to break their two-game losing streak and may have found the perfect opportunity to do so. The Spurs were beaten 122-117 by Dallas on Friday. DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, while LeMarcus Aldridge added 26 points. Keldon Johnson recorded a double-double, scoring 17 points and snagging 14 rebounds. The Spurs lost point guard Dejounte Murray in the first minute of the game with an ankle injury, and that hurt the Spurs perimeter defense. At one point in the second half, the Spurs trailed by 18, but came back to cut the lead to one before Dallas put the game on ice.

The list of players out is long for Washington. Russell Westbrook is dealing with an injury, and is expected to be out. Center Thomas Bryant will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. The COVID list includes Davis Bertans, Ish Smith, Deni Avdija, Troy Brown, Jr., Mo Wagner, and Rui Hachimura. Dejounte Murray is unlikely to play for the Spurs, although he is listed as questionable.

Wizards Just Happy To Be Playing

Even the Wizards’ expanded roster will be put to the test in this one. Coach Scott Brooks in his post-practice interview Friday said that he was just happy to have the opportunity to play. The Wizards are down to eight healthy players. The good news is that Bradley Beal is healthy. Beal, who is enjoying a phenomenal season, has averaged 34.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 5.0 apg. Look for Beal to take the majority of the shots tonight, as he is the only Wizard averaging double figures who will suit up.

Robin Lopez had a productive first game starting in place of Thomas Bryant. Lopez scored 11 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in his first extended playing time of the season. Garrison Matthews has averaged 8.0 ppg in 12 minutes per game this season, and will likely see a ton of minutes tonight.

As a team, the Wizards have an effective field goal percentage of 54.8, 10th in the league. Washington is fourth in the league in turnover percent (11.6%), and fifth in free throws per field goal attempts (.214). Defensively, the Wizards are 28th in the NBA in opponents effective field goal percent (56.0%), ninth in opponent’s turnover percentage (13.6), sixth in defensive rebounding percentage (79.8), and 30th in opponent’s free throws per field goal attempts (.266).

Spurs Look to End Two Game Slide

The Spurs appear to have caught a break (again) when they host the Wizards tonight. Washington is coming in extremely short-handed, something that several of San Antonio’s past opponents have been dealing with. Most recently, the Spurs took full advantage of injuries to key Portland players to deal them a 125-104 loss.

The Spurs present a balanced offensive attack paced by DeMar DeRozan, who averages 20.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 6.7 apg.With Dejounte Murray likely out for the game, look for Keldon Johnson is one of the game’s most exciting young players, to pick up some of the offensive slack. Johnson is averaging 14.3 ppg and 7.5 rpg. The Spurs rotation also features LeMarcus Aldridge (14.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and three-point specialist Patty Mills.

Offensively, the Spurs are 26th in the NBA in effective field goal percent (50.2%), 1st in turnover percent (9.0%), 21st in offensive rebounding percent (20.1%), and 23rd in free throws per field goal attempts (.174). Defensively, San Antonio is 18th in opponents’ effective field goal percent (53.8%), 21st in opponent turnover percent (12.5%), 7th in defensive rebounding percent (79.4%), and 5th in opponents’ free throws per field goal attempts (.165).

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

Of course, I like San Antonio in this one because of the Wizards being so short-handed, and the fact that they are coming off a long break. Finding a rhythm is going to be tough for Washington, who will rely on Bradley Beal to create most of the scoring opportunities. But the bottom line is Washington will have to play with players who are on the lower end of the rotation, if at all. That does not bode well for the Wizards. But at least they’re playing again.

San Antonio

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Full-Game Total Pick

I’d be shocked if the Wizards can create the type of offense needed to put this total into the OVER, regardless of how low it is. There are just too many holes in the lineup, and too few bodies to score consistently throughout this one. San Antonio may get a big enough lead where they can play the bottom end of their rotation, which means scoring could be further depressed. I’m taking the UNDER  in this one.