Dave Johnson:Wizards fall to Spurs in Wall's return

Dave Johnson:Wizards fall to Spurs in Wall's return
December 27, 2010, 2:29 am
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Sunday, December 26, 2010 9:13 p.m.
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By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comSan Antonio---Former Bullets great Elvin Hayes traveled from his home in Houston to watch the Wizards. It was worth the trip. While the San Antonio Spurs ultimately prevailed in a 94-80 victory, the Wizards found a way to remain competitive without Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee.Blatche, the Wizards leading scorer, and McGee, the Wizards leading rebounder, were suspended for the game against the Spurs for conduct detrimental to the team. Blatche and McGee were involved in an altercation early Friday at a DC night club.Its unfortunate, but as theplayershave knownfrom the start of the year we have had a zero-tolerance policy for off the court incidents, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. Unfortunately for those two they were involved in one. Even though we are young and might be inexperienced that is no excuse not to act in what we consider a professional manner.The suspensions forced Saunders to use his 13th starting lineup in 28 games. Rashard Lewis replaced Blatche at power forward for his first start with the Wizards, while Hilton Armstrong took over for McGee at center. Lewis and Armstrong made a difference with their increased minutes as they allowed the Wizards to enjoy a 51-44 advantage in rebounds on the Spurs. Lewis led the Wizards with 21 points and had 12 rebounds. Armstrong had a career high 13 rebounds, but is now listed as day-today after suffering a right foot sprain early in the fourth quarter.The Wizards work on the boards helped prevent the Spurs from using their incredible shooting ability to break open the game. For the season the Spurs have been shooting 41 percent beyond the arc and they lived up to that mark against the Wizards by making 10 of 24 three-point attempts.Manu Ginobili led the Spurs in scoring with 21 points and made 5 of 7 three point attempts. The Spurs (3782 only made four more field goals than the Wizards (3388), but they made five more three-pointers. Nick Young could never really get in an offensive rhythm for the Wizards and only had 10 points on 5 of 19 shooting from the field.This is a different Spurs team. They dont wait for Tim Duncan to get set before starting their offense. Instead with Tony Parker leading the way, the 20102011 Spurs like to get out in transition. Parker ran the show with 14 assists to go with his 20 points.The Wizards did welcome John Wall back to the court for the first time in five games because of bone bruise in his right knee. At the end of the first half, Wall went right down the middle of the lane and finished after whipping the ball behind his back to pull the Wizards to within six points at 48-42.Walls drive electrified the crowd, but he showed the rust of his five-game absence with only 4 points and 4 assists on 2 of 9 shooting from the field. On defense the Wizards held an opponent below 100 points for the 5th consecutive game.