SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs survived a resilient Washington Wizards squad 107-105 Friday for their first home win since Nov. 21, yet reserve guard Manu Ginobili winced as if success had just drop-kicked him between the shoulders when pondering his club’s prospects.
“It’s taking us a while to get into the rhythm, the aggressiveness we need to get leads,” Ginobili said. “So yeah, we’re not playing well. But the good thing is that meanwhile, we are getting wins, and we are maintaining a good record. We have an 80 percent winning percentage, and we don’t feel like we are playing that well.”
That was pretty much the sentiment all around San Antonio’s dimly lit locker room in the bowels of the AT&T Center for a 16-4 club owning the second-best record in the NBA and lofty expectations apparently second to none.
With the score tied at 105 with 6.1 seconds remaining, Kawhi Leonardnailed the go-ahead shot off an assist from Ginobili. The shot registered as Leonard’s third bucket in his last four go-ahead attempts in the last 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.
Perhaps making this run even more significant is the fact Leonard had made only one of four such shots before this stretch in his entire career. The NBA average over the past five seasons on such shots is 24.9 percent. Leonard currently sits at 50 percent in that area.
“It felt good,” Leonard said. “Coach [Gregg Popovich], a great mind, drew up the play, taught me how to execute it. I came off probably about a half a second open, and Manu delivered a great pass, and I just made the shot.”
The Spurs finished with five double-figures scorers, led by Leonard, who scored 23 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol contributed 19 apiece. Gasol produced his second double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) with the Spurs.
“That’s what I came here to do: to help this team be better and be a winner and adjust as well and as quickly as I possibly can, knowing it’s going to take a little bit of time,” Gasol said.