Washington Wizards vs. San Antonio Spurs Pick & Prediction JANUARY 20th 2024

The Washington Wizards, hoping to escape their slide, open a four-game homestand on Saturday against a San Antonio Spurs team on the second night of a back-to-back set.

San Antonio took its fourth consecutive loss, three of which have come on the current five-game road swing, with a 124-120 result on Friday against the Charlotte Hornets.

Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 25 points off the bench while Devin Vassell scored 17 points. Both shot 4-for-8 from 3-point range.

San Antonio played Friday without rookie star Victor Wembanyama, who sat due to a scheduled rest. Wembanyama leads the Spurs in scoring (19.8 points per game) and rebounding (10.1 boards per game) in addition to leading the league in blocks (3.1 per game).

Zach Collins returned Friday after a nine-game absence caused by a right ankle sprain and scored 16 points. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said in his postgame press conference that Collins would not play at Washington.

Spurs reserve Blake Wesley, who scored nine points combined over the previous four games, matched that total on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor at Charlotte.

“He’s making us give him minutes,” Popovich said. “His aggressiveness at both ends, really, attacking the rim and playing full-court defense on people, it’s been helpful. He’s doing a good job.”

San Antonio will try to build off its strong offensive showing. The Spurs rank in the bottom third of the NBA in points per game at 112.1 but face the league’s most porous defense. The Wizards allow 125.0 points per game.

Since ending a six-game slide on Jan. 13 with a road rout of the Atlanta Hawks, Washington dropped its past two contest, against the Detroit Pistons on Monday and at the New York Knicks on Thursday.

Jalen Brunson torched the Wizards for 20 of his 41 points in the Knicks’ 40-point fourth quarter as New York emerged with a 113-109 win. A positive for Washington was the strong debut for Marvin Bagley III, acquired earlier in the week in a trade with the Pistons.

Bagley scored 20 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the floor, matched his season highs with 11 rebounds and three blocks and had a season-best two steals.

“His effort and energy, his overall awareness, multiple efforts to get to the paint and make those plays (are) a credit to him,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said of Bagley, who was part of a deal that added Isaiah Livers in exchange for veterans Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala.

In the trade, Washington also picked up second-round draft picks in 2025 and 2026.

“I’m not used to playing that many minutes this year,” Bagley said in his postgame media availability after playing a season-high 39:08. “My body’s going to adapt to it. Just got to keep continuing to push.”

Bagley joined the starting frontcourt with Daniel Gafford out due to a concussion. Gafford, Washington’s leading rebounder at 7.6 per game, was listed as questionable for the Saturday contest.

The meeting will be the first of two between the teams this season, with the second set for Jan. 29 at San Antonio.

–Field Level Media

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