Spurs beat Wizards for team-record 23rd straight home win
SAN ANTONIO (AP) The San Antonio Spurs are off to the best start at home in franchise history and are leading the league in several defensive categories.
Coach Gregg Popovich is there to remind them as only he can that there is still much to improve.
Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points and the Spurs set a franchise record with their 23rd straight home victory, rolling past the Washington Wizards 114-95 on Wednesday night.
After trailing early into the second quarter, San Antonio rallied following a fiery timeout to win its franchise-best 14th straight home game to open the season.
''We're feeling good, but we're not in a mood where we think we we're going to beat everybody and we're better than everybody,'' Spurs super sub Manu Ginobili said. ''We still know we have a lot to improve.''
LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 points and Ginobili and Patty Mills each had 11 for San Antonio (22-5), which has won 16 straight at home against the Washington.
John Wall and Marcin Gortat had 20 points apiece for the Wizards. Gortat grabbed 10 rebounds.
Washington was without leading scorer Bradley Beal and fellow starter Nene, but their absence wasn't felt early.
Wall and Ramon Sessions attacked the interior with Tim Duncan sitting out for rest, helping the Wizards shoot 60 percent in the first quarter.
''The first quarter we came out ready to play,'' Gortat said. ''We were really engaged and a lot of players played at a high level. To be honest, to beat a team like that you need pretty much everybody on the team to play their best to beat a team like that.''
The Spurs got a defensive boost when 7-foot-3 rookie Boban Marjanovic entered late in the first quarter.
Marjanovic disrupted Kelly Oubre's shot and then blocked his follow attempt by standing over him with his arms outstretched. Marjanovic was active in disrupting pick-and-roll attempts and switching on picks.
''I feel great, I want to help my teammates,'' Marjanovic said. ''I try to bring good defense and not bother guys who can score. I think I do a great there, because I get second opportunities for us.''
Marjanovic finished with seven points, six rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes.
''I like his height,'' Popovich said. ''I guess that sounds funny, but he uses it well. It helps him on the offensive boards. He's a great target on the pick-and-rolls. Besides that, he's trying to change shots and play defensively, so he's doing a good job.''
The biggest boost came during the third quarter, when a red-faced Popovich screamed at his players and forcefully pointed at several during a timeout. That was followed by a 17-6 run that led to a 78-62 advantage.
San Antonio, which leads the league defensively in opponents' points per game and field goal percentage, held Washington to 19 points in the third quarter.
''We started off pretty slow,'' Leonard said. ''They got to the rim a lot, got easy points on the fast break. We made some adjustments and just tried to hold them to 20-point quarters.''
Wizards: Beal missed his fourth straight game with a stress reaction in his lower right fibula. He missed three games earlier this season with a sore left shoulder. ... Former Spurs player DeJuan Blair was booed each time he entered the game and when he shot free throws. ... Washington's last victory in San Antonio was 99-89 on Dec. 11, 1999.
Spurs: Leonard has scored at least 20 points in 16 games this season, including a current streak of four straight. ... Duncan missed his third game this season, all due to rest. The Spurs have missed 14 total games this season, with five being for rest ... The Spurs' last regular-season loss at home was in overtime to Cleveland on March 12.
Besides Beal and Nene, the Wizards were also without Alan Anderson (left ankle surgery) and Drew Gooden (right calf strain).
''We can't use that as an excuse,'' Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ''We just haven't been consistent in terms of night in and night out. Night in and night out, your shooting can change. You take shots and miss shots, but defensively, and effort-wise putting the commitment into it has to be every night.''
Marjanovic had to defend Wall off a pick-and-roll, to the delight of the home crowd. The 6-4 Wall was able to drive past him but unable to convert a layup.
''He's too fast,'' Marjanovic said. ''I'm thinking how I'm going to defend him because he's fast and he has nice skills, nice touch. And I feel lucky.''
Wizards: Host Charlotte on Saturday night.
Spurs: Host Clippers on Friday night.