Bertans, traded from San Antonio to Washington in the offseason, made all five of his 3-point attempts and scored 23 points against his former team. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was grateful Bertans didn’t take the Wizards’ final shot.
“I almost jumped out on the court,” Popovich said. “He had a great game. He was wonderful. He’s a super human being, a heck of a player. I’m actually happy for him. He was great. He was great.”
Bertans was traded to clear cap space for Marcus Morris, who agreed to a two-year deal with San Antonio only to back out of the agreement and instead sign a one-year contract with New York. Having already dealt Bertans, the Spurs opted to sign Trey Lyles.
“It was emotional a little bit,” Bertans said of his return. “I spent a lot of time here. As I see it, even though I got traded, there’s nothing but love for the Spurs and that’s mutual.”
That love was evident in Popovich’s playful banter with Bertans on the court following the game and former Spurs general manager R.C. Buford’s long embrace with Bertans in the Wizards locker room.
Using a screen by LaMarcus Aldridge near midcourt, DeRozan drove to the basket and spun in a layup between Rui Hachiumra and Thomas Bryant, putting the Spurs up with 5.5 second remaining.
“I tell him all the time, I need you to take over at all times, not just when we really, really need it,” San Antonio point guard Dejounte Murray said. “But he did his thing tonight. None of us were shocked or surprised. That’s DeMar for you.”
Bradley Beal attempted to force overtime with a driving layup, but Derrick White blocked his shot and grabbed the ball as the buzzer sounded.
“Bottom line is, he didn’t get the call,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said, “but that’s basketball. You move on to the next game. We keep playing like this, we’re going to get the respect.”
Aldridge led the Spurs with 27 points. Murray had 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists and Bryn Forbes added 16 points.
Beal had 25 points and Hachimura added 16 points for the Wizards.
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