San Antonio vs. Washington, final score: Spurs’ big third quarter pushes them past the Wizards, 116-99

After a thrilling win against the Celtics over the weekend, the Spurs played another exciting game on Monday night, beating the Wizards 116-99 at home.

Washington led most of the game until Derrick White caught fire in the third quarter, when the 27-year-old scored 18 points in the period alone. He eventually finished 24, which is a season highlight for him so far. It was encouraging to see the whole team playing solid team basketball throughout the evening as their match level was quite consistent and even improved as the match progressed. That’s a great sign for a young team that still has to learn how to stay competitive every night, regardless of their opponent.

observations

  • With Devin Vassell and Doug McDermott on the sidelines, Pop decided to get Josh Primo involved. The rookie saw over a dozen minutes of action and didn’t seem out of place, as he hit a few open shots while playing a solid team defense. Primo is clearly extremely raw (he’s only 18!) and certainly not ready for a full-time spot in the rotation yet, but I like how the team gives him the occasional run with the big club.
  • As mentioned above, White had 18 points in the third quarter alone, much of that was down to his teammates trying to get him shots. Giving the hot hand is something the team has not consistently done this season, especially when Vassell is the one who catches fire. Hopefully this is a sign that the Spurs are becoming more aware of finding players who have a rhythm.
  • San Antonio did not allow a single fast break point on Monday night. The Wizards aren’t the most threatening team in transition, but it’s an impressive feat anyway and I’m sure Pop will be very happy with that.
  • Thaddeus Young only came on the field in the third quarter, but made a big impression in the minutes he played. The veteran is not the rim protector that Jakob Poeltl or Drew Eubanks is, but he is more versatile on offense and also more reliable in a shifting scheme on defense. Young made some impressive passes to slicing guards that resulted in easy layups, while also glazed over the game with less than two minutes left when he boxed in a shot after taking advantage of a mismatch low against Bradley Beal. I’d like to see Young get more minutes in the right matchups, which could potentially increase his trade value too if the team decides to sell on the deadline.
  • For the second consecutive game, the Spurs kept their cool in crunch time and emerged victorious. However, unlike on Saturday night, they did not concede a lead and even built on a lead after half a dozen points at the end of the third quarter. Every player seemed calm and composed and knew they had to stay focused to win, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s only two games, but the team will undoubtedly gain crucial experience that could prove invaluable in the future.

For the Wizards perspective, go to Bullets Forever.

San Antonio now has two days off before visiting the Trail Blazers in Portland on Thursday night. Tip-off is at 9:00 am CST on KENS-5.

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