WASHINGTON -- The San Antonio Spurs had five days to prepare, allowing them to spend some time at home during their make-or-break rodeo road trip.
But those reasons alone can't account for San Antonio's 110-83 manhandling of Washington on Wednesday night. The bigger picture has emerged over the last few weeks: The Wizards, even though they're a contender in the East, can't hang with the top teams in the West.
"That was just a flat-out, 48-minute, thorough beating -- right from the beginning to the end," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan scored 20 points apiece for the Spurs, who shot 62 percent in the first half and led by double digits for all but the first 4:05 of the game. Duncan, who frequently had his way against the undersized Wizards frontcourt, shot 9-for-16 and had seven rebounds and five assists. Manu Ginobili added 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Before the game, coach Gregg Popovich said the Spurs' eight-game road stretch was a "a season-making trip for us -- or season-breaking." San Antonio had dropped two straight, but the win over the Wizards put the Spurs at 2-2 during their annual get-out-of-town that coincides with the February rodeo show back home.
"It was one of our better games of the year, very honestly, at both ends of the court," Popovich said.
The Spurs, who last played Feb. 1 at Phoenix, have had trouble holding onto big leads, and it nearly happened again against the Wizards. A 24-point, second-half lead was down to 11 in the final minute of the third quarter, but Fabricio Oberto kept a possession alive by punching a missed free throw to a teammate. The sequence helped put San Antonio ahead 84-70 entering the fourth, and Ginobili opened the final period with three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws in a 12-2 run to increase the lead back to 24.
"We're getting a little bit old," Parker said, "and all those close games we used to win, this year we've got a tendency to lose them. But I think we're in the right direction. I think we're improving. We definitely still have a chance to win (the West). It's going to be down to Game 7 and one possession, like always. It's going to be a big battle."
Gilbert Arenas scored 29 points but made only 10 of 24 shots for the Wizards, who fell to 1-3 since Jamison was sidelined with a knee injury. In the last month, Washington has lost by 22 to Phoenix, by 16 to the Los Angeles Lakers and by 13 and 27 to the Spurs. The Wizards also lost by 27 -- their season-high margin of defeat -- to Dallas in November.
Caron Butler added 15 points and was the only other Wizards player in double figures. Jarvis Hayes struggled again starting in Jamison's spot, scoring only five points on 2-for-8 shooting, but his teammates didn't use Jamison's absence as an excuse.
"We got whipped up there, too, and Antawn was part of that whipping," Arenas said. "You have to have a perfect game to beat them. If we want to be a contending team, we have to watch teams like this."
The Spurs had assists on their first seven baskets, while the Wizards started 2-for-11 from the field. Washington must have known it would be a long night when All-Star forward Butler tossed up a 4-foot airball while open on the baseline. Later, Arenas made a stunning stutter-move to drive to the basket, but the ball danced on the rim and wouldn't fall in.
Arenas and Butler led the mini-rally that threatened to make it a game in the third quarter, but Ginobili's spurt to open the fourth put the game out of reach. Arenas and Butler went to the bench for good with 7:47 left in the game.
"We tried to make a dent into it," Arenas said. "But they're a veteran team, they let us get a little happy, then they turned it up again."
- The Spurs shot 38.2 percent on the first three games of the road swing.
- Popovich tried to make light of the fact that the Spurs are well behind Dallas and Phoenix in the West. "We got 'em right where we want 'em," he said. "They're thinking they're pretty good. We lose a few more, then we're going to put on the steam."
- The Spurs held the Wizards to a season-low 31-percent shooting in their first meeting, a 93-80 win on Jan. 13.
- A sign that the Spurs aren't comfortable with a big lead: Duncan got a technical when the score was 68-44 in the third period.
- Jamison, out three to six weeks with a sprained knee, has been taking set shots and free throws in practice. "I'm doing great. No setbacks," Jamison said. "Hopefully sooner than later."
- Washington's Andray Blatche had a career-high 12 rebounds.