Wizards end 22-game skid in San Antonio, beat Spurs 127-106
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Deni Avdija had a career-high 25 points, Bradley Beal had 21 points and the Washington Wizards ended a 22-game losing streak to the Spurs in San Antonio with a 127-106 victory Monday night.
Washington, which last won in San Antonio on Dec. 11, 1999, has won six straight for its longest winning streak since a six-game run in 2015.
“You never want to be on the losing end of that streak, but it’s good to get that one off our chest,” said Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr., who was an advance scout with the team in 1999.
Kristaps Porzingis added 17 points and nine rebounds after a fast start for Washington.
Keldon Johnson had 26 points, Jeremy Sochan added 17 and Zach Collins had 16 for the Spurs, who have lost six straight to fall to 2-13 this month.
The Wizards led 63-55 at halftime and never trailed in the second half. The Spurs closed within four points midway through the third quarter, but Washington responded with an 8-0 run to regain a double-digit advantage.
San Antonio is 0-35 this season when trailing by double digits.
“We had more fast-break points,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We had more second-chance points. We had fewer turnovers. We had more points in the paint but shot 20-something from 3 and they shot 50 or something. Game over.”
San Antonio was 7 for 29 on 3-pointers while Washington shot 16 for 30 on 3s.
Porzingis scored 13 of the Wizards’ first 19 points. Jakob Poeltl picked up two fouls in the opening four minutes, forcing the Spurs to bring Zach Collins in sooner than usual.
After his early scoring burst, Porzingis was scoreless in the next two periods and had four points in the fourth.
Avdija responded by scoring 23 points in the final three quarters to help the Wizards win here for the first time since he was 2 years old.
“The streak is done,” Avdija said. “Just to close that circle and be here and having a good game versus the Spurs and end that streak. I think everybody did a really great job competing. When we’re focused and sharing the ball, we’re a really dangerous team.”
Avdija was 10 for 12 from the field and made both his 3-point attempts. Kendrick Nunn added 10 points, giving him double-digit scoring in all three games since being acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers for Rui Hachimura.
Wizards: Washington’s longest winning streak in franchise history is nine straight, which it accomplished in 2002, 1979, 1975, 1970 and 1969. … Washington is 12-16 on the road, two victories shy of matching last season’s win total away from home. … Kuzma and Delon Wright were reunited with Poeltl, their teammate with the Utah Utes in 2015. … Nunn received a technical foul 7 seconds into the second quarter after complaining about a non-call. After stripping possession from Blake Wesley, Nunn thought he was fouled on a layup attempt that was knocked out of bounds by the Spurs’ rookie. San Antonio F Doug McDermott missed the free throw.
Spurs: San Antonio has allowed 100-plus points in six straight games and in all but one of its past 27 games. .. Sochan has scored in double figures in seven straight games and in 10 of his past 12. … G Josh Richardson did not play after being upgraded to probable several hours before tipoff. Richardson missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. … Collins suffered a bloody nose that forced officials to stop play with 2.8 seconds left in the first quarter. Keldon Johnson re-entered the game in place of Collins.
Avdija’s recent rise has coincided with the team bestowing the nickname “Turbo” on the 22-year-old forward.
Wizards veteran Monte Morris unknowingly gave Avdija the nickname while the two were playing 1-on-1. Morris playfully remarked that Avdija’s hustle reminded him of the “turbo and square” move in NBA2K.
“They really want me to succeed and be aggressive,” Avdija said. “Since they gave me that nickname, I really just am being more aggressive. I’m just enjoying, that’s the most important for me.”
Wizards: At Detroit on Wednesday night.
Spurs: Host Sacramento on Wednesday night.
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