January 03, 2015

Only five teams have knocked off the San Antonio Spurs, and one of them is the Washington Wizards.

It's hard to imagine them pulling off the season sweep.

A short-handed, last-place Washington team that hasn't won in San Antonio since the 1990s is all that stands in the way of the Spurs notching the longest home winning streak in franchise history Wednesday night.

San Antonio's run of 22 straight regular-season home wins includes a 13-0 record this season and dates back to an overtime loss to Cleveland on March 12. The Spurs (21-5) have matched the franchise record set during the 2010-11 season.

Four of the last five opponents to visit San Antonio lost by at least 20 points, and it seems Washington could be headed for a similar fate with leading scorer Bradley Beal sidelined while the Spurs are at full strength and pretty fresh.

All of their starters were rested for the final 16 minutes of a 118-81 drubbing of Utah on Monday.

"It's always great because it adds up," said Tony Parker, who had 18 points in 21 minutes. "All the rest that we're getting right now will help come playoff time."

The Spurs have won three straight by an average of 28.0 points, and Washington has often been blown out during a 15-game losing streak in San Antonio which dates back to Dec. 11, 1999.

Last season's trip was among the closest as the Wizards lost 101-92 after being within three points with five minutes to play. However, the Spurs were without Parker and Kawhi Leonard.

This time it's Washington (10-13) missing a top player with Beal (leg) out at least another 10 days. The Wizards wouldn't have beaten the Spurs without him when the teams met Nov. 4, as Beal had a game-high 25 points and hit the deciding 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining in a 102-99 victory.

When asked about that loss Monday, Parker said "we felt like we had the game and we let it slip at the end," but added that his team is playing much better going into the rematch.

"I feel like we're improving a lot," he said. "I feel like we're a different team, so we're going in the right direction."

The first meeting was one of five games the Spurs have allowed 100 points. They've done that once in the past 14 games and are now allowing a league-low 87.9 per game.

"We're playing great defense," Parker said. "Every time you play great defense, it gives you opportunities to win games."

The Wizards' defense has left a lot to be desired.

While going 1-2 on a four-game trip which has coincided with Beal's absence, Washington is allowing averages of 110.0 points and 53.3 percent from 3-point range (40 for 75).

''Until we get a commitment to defend ... we're going to be on this roller coaster,'' coach Randy Wittman said.

The Wizards are allowing an Eastern Conference-worst 105.6 points per game, including 100-plus in eight straight.

''Right now, our mindset is to outscore people," Wittman said. "Our team isn't made that way."

While Washington is the NBA's worst at defending the 3, allowing 41.1 percent, San Antonio is No. 1 at 30.6.

John Wall is 1 for 8 on 3-pointers in five games at San Antonio while getting held to an average of 13.2 points.

His two 3-pointers Monday were his only points in a 112-95 loss at Memphis. The Wizards are 1-5 when he fails to score at least 15.

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