SAN ANTONIO (AFP) – NBA champions San Antonio, still depleted by injury but hoping to put a disappointing December behind them, defeated Washington 101-92 on Saturday in their first game of 2015.
Canadian point guard Cory Joseph scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and French big man Boris Diaw scored 12 of his 14 in the second as the Spurs rallied for the win.
Brazil’s Tiago Splitter added 16 points and Aussie Patty Mills chipped in 15 for the Spurs, whose 8-10 record in December marked the club’s first losing month since February 1999.
San Antonio got January off to a better start despite still missing small forward Kawhi Leonard with a hand injury and French point guard Tony Parker with a sore hamstring.
John Wall and Bradley Beal led six Wizards players in double figures with 15 points each.
But Washington fell to 1-3 on their five-game Western Conference road trip which concludes at New Orleans on Monday.
Washington built their first-half lead to 51-41 after French center Kevin Seraphin’s three-point play with 6:50 left in the second quarter.
But a 6-0 scoring run helped San Antonio make it 58-58 at halftime, with Joseph beating the buzzer to end the half with a turn-around jump shot.
The third quarter followed a similar pattern to the second, with the Wizards building a lead and the Spurs fighting back.
The Wizards had taken a 73-66 lead when Diaw caught fire, making three straight baskets and assisting on a shot by Marco Belinelli that put the Spurs ahead.
Diaw stayed strong in the fourth, when his six points included a running reverse layup that put the Spurs up 98-88 with 2:33 remaining, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.