The Washington Wizards scored only 26 first half points Saturday in a 96-86 road loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Spurs big Tim Duncan had to sit out the second half (knee) and Washington achieved back-to-back 30 point quarters in his absence, yet the Wizards had no answer for guard Tony Parker.
Parker led San Antonio with 19 points and 12 assists, while John Wall led Washington with a game-high 21 points and 9 assists in defeat. The Wizards clocked reserve forward Chris Singleton for a rare 20 minutes, and he added a team-high 11 points off the bench.
Singleton provided one of the few bright spots for the Wizards, as Washington cut a 27-point deficit to 6 in the fourth quarter. The play of Spurs center Tiago Splitter, however, helped San Antonio stay ahead down the stretch. The third-year center out of Brazil added 6 of his 12 points in the fourth, as the Parker-led Spurs pushed on to their tenth straight win.
The Wizards have now lost their last four. Washington's Brazilian forward-center--Nene--missed his first six looks from the field Saturday and ended up with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists on 5-for-12 shooting. The Wizards, who are missing Bradley Beal (wrist, three games and counting), have yet to find a scoring option outside of Nene. The veteran big was never the go to option in Denver when he played for the Nuggets but has become just that for Washington.
Aside from Nene, the main concern for the Beal-less Wizards is reserve Jordan Crawford, who has averaged only 5.7 points over Washington's last three games. Without Beal, Crawford is expected to step up--except, Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman is trusting Garrett Temple to start rather than Crawford. Crawford might still be limited on a sore ankle, which kept him out earlier this season, yet one can't help but wonder whether the coaching decision to start Temple has had any impact on Crawford's performance.
Washington returns home Monday to host the Los Angeles Clippers (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN), followed by the New York Knicks on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN) and the Brooklyn Nets on Friday (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN). Beal will try to give it a go Monday if he's healthy, as he did not dress for Washington's three-game road trip. Whether Beal is a go or not, the Wall-led Wizards offense needs a fresh look--perhaps Singleton--to help bolster their offense. Singleton and Martell Webster worked during the preseason, and it might be worth a try in order to break Washington's current skid.