Wizards hold off Spurs to snap four-game losing streak


WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the San Antonio Spurs 136-124 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

Needed win

File Friday night's game for the Wizards under: a win is a win is a win. They found themselves in a dogfight against the San Antonio Spurs, who are both one of the league's worst teams this season and depleted by injuries. But Washington found an extra gear late to prevail with the victory despite missing both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma.

The Wizards can now breathe a short sigh of relief, as they snapped a four-game losing streak. Washington came into the matchup having lost nine of their last 11 games.

Corey Kispert helped push the Wizards over the top against the Spurs with a career-high 26 points, including six threes to tie a career-high. Delon Wright also had one of his better games with a season-high 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Wizards improved to 33-41 on the season with eight games remaining.

Avdija kept it rolling

The Wizards haven't enjoyed many positives lately as losses have piled up and injuries have set in, but Deni Avdija has certainly been a bright spot. He scored in double-figures for the third straight game, this time topping out at 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting including 3-for-6 from three. Avdija had 14 points in the first half, just as he did on Wednesday against the Nuggets.

This time, though, he kept it up in the second half. Avdija once again fed off a steady diet of drives to the right with a few outside shots sprinkled in. But in this game, he also had a nice drive to his left where he got a shot off the glass to fall for an and-1. Just like last game, Avdija connected with Daniel Gafford on an alley-oop lob off a pick-and-roll. It's an intriguing combo.

Porzingis was efficient

Regardless of the recent team results, Kristaps Porzingis has been putting up some big numbers despite not having Beal or Kuzma out there. In this game he scored 23 points with nine rebounds and five assists, shooting 7-for-11 overall and 2-for-3 from three. Porzingis has shot 60% (30-for-50) over his last three games.

The Wizards' chances of making the playoffs have been significantly hurt recently, but Porzingis continues to compile a banner season individually. He's averaging a career-high 23.0 points per game and, with 63 games played, he's on pace for his second-most durable season. He's positioned himself well for the summer when he can potentially opt out and seek a longer-term contract.

Trouble forcing TOs

With the offseason getting close, one weakness the Wizards may want to address is their inability to create turnovers. The Spurs only had five turnovers in this game, which led to only eight points for the Wizards. On a related note, the Wizards had only eight fastbreak points.

For the season overall, Washington ranks 29th out of 30 games in turnovers forced per game (12.2), 28th in points off turnovers (14.7/g) and 28th in fastbreak points (11.6/g). Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. doesn't want his team to play a run-and-gun, fast-paced style. He prefers a more methodical, efficient brand of basketball. Still, forcing a few more turnovers could not only make their defense more effective but also create some easy shot opportunities in transition. 

Beal's knee

Unseld Jr. shared an update on Beal's knee injury before the game, that he recently had "imaging" done, which likely means an MRI. He was diagnosed with a knee sprain and is considered day-to-day. That would indicate the additional testing brought back fairly good news, considering any and all alternatives. Unseld Jr. added that "hopefully" Beal will only miss a game or two before coming back.

Beal, though, is now going to be cutting it rather close if he intends to break the Wizards' franchise scoring record by the end of this season. There are only eight games remaining on the Wizards' schedule and he still trails Elvin Hayes by 160 points. That would mean if he plays every game the rest of the way, he would have to average at least 20 points to surpass Hayes. That's doable, but the math will get more difficult if he misses any more games.

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