WASHINGTON • Teams playing for extended stretches on the road are typically enthusiastic about returning home. It is more than understandable if the San Antonio Spurs do not share that sentiment.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points as the Spurs won their ninth straight game overall and improved to 10-0 on the road this National Basketball Association season with a 112-100 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Tony Parker had 20 points and Kawhi Leonard scored 19 for the Spurs (14-3), who shot 53.3 per cent from the field, outscored Washington 23-10 from the foul line and led by 19 points in the second half.
Both teams played elsewhere on Friday and San Antonio wrapped up a stretch of six games - five on the road - in 10 days. Unsurprisingly, the deeper Spurs were better equipped to handle the back-to-back scenario.
Jonathon Simmons scored 15 points and Patty Mills 13 as San Antonio's reserves outscored Washington's 35-18.
Asked what has impressed him most during the winning run, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said: "The fact that a lot of the new guys have caught on so quickly.
"Kyle Anderson and Jon Simmons haven't played much before. David Lee, Davis Bertans, Dewayne Dedmon and Pau (Gasol) just all got here, so they've blended in very well pretty quickly. It was surprising."
Bradley Beal led the Wizards (5-10) with 25 points and John Wall added 21. Washington had won a season-high two straight games, including 94-91 at the Orlando Magic on Friday for their first road victory of the season. Otto Porter finished with 14 points.
The Spurs shot 50 per cent from the field for a 54-44 half-time lead.
After Washington closed to 69-62 midway through the third quarter, San Antonio ended any hint of a comeback with a 16-7 run during which Aldridge and Mills each sank a three and scored five points.
"It's tough, but we knew that coming in," Beal said of tangling with the Spurs. "That's not an excuse for us not to compete and us not to go out and try to win a game, but you have to give credit where it's due."
"We're pretty confident," Aldridge said about the road success. "Guys are bringing it every night. You have to compete harder. Guys are locked in."
Adding to their depth woes, the Wizards lost Markieff Morris in the third quarter when the starting forward was ejected after arguing with the officials over a foul call. Morris had 12 points in 19 minutes.
"I did not hear what was said, but I have a lot of respect for (official) Kenny (Mauer)," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.
"We have to keep our emotions (in check). That's something that we've talked about. We need him, we need him on the floor. He had a nice rhythm going at that time and we can't afford to have him not on the floor."