By BEN NUCKOLS – AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Coming off of his first All-Star appearance, Dejounte Murray had to work extra hard in the NBA‘s highest scoring game this season.
Murray had 31 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists and the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Washington Wizards 157-153 in double overtime on Friday night.
The game might not have lasted this long if Murray hadn’t missed out on potential winners at the end of regulation time and the first overtime. He equaled his season-high in minutes with 43.
“He looked like he was a bit tired. Maybe there was too much of an All-Star break that he didn’t get,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ‘ve gone one-on-one a few times and maybe I shouldn’t have done that, judging he was a little tired, but he’s our guy. He made a big 3, a few free throws, so I think Michael (Jordan) also missed a few shots late in games.
Keldon Johnson scored a career-high 32 points and Jakob Poeltl added a career-high 28 points for the Spurs. They won five of seven wins to bring Popovich within one win of Lenny Wilkens’ NBA record of 1,335.
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Kyle Kuzma tied his season high with 36 points for the Wizards. They finally ran out of gas in the second overtime of this entertaining game between teams on the sidelines of the playoffs.
“I think, overall, I can’t be mad,” Kuzma said. “Played three overtimes. Was it three overtimes? Of them? Oh. I felt like there were three of them.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points and Raul Neto recorded season highs of 22 points and nine assists for Washington. The Wizards have fallen to 3-3 since losing star Bradley Beal to season-ending left wrist surgery.
Spurs’ point total was the second-highest in a game this season, and the Wizards’ was third-best. Murray hit two free throws with 13.6 seconds left in the second OT to seal it.
“I was a little tired, but when you’re trying to win basketball games, there’s no excuse,” Murray said. “We fought through that.”
In the first extra period, Neto passed Murray for a layup that made it 145-145 with 18.3 seconds left. Murray then missed a jumper and Corey Kispert missed a long 3 at the buzzer.
The Spurs appeared to take control with an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards closed out regulation with an 8-0 flurry in the 1:14 final. Caldwell-Pope tied on a driving layup with 19.4 seconds left, and Murray missed a deep 3 with 4.1 seconds left.
Murray scored a season-best 20 points in the first half, and he completed his triple-double on a rebound with 4:57 left in the third quarter. Shortly after, Popovich sat him down and Murray didn’t re-enter the game until the middle of the fourth.
Murray has 12 triple-doubles this season and 16 in his career, both franchise highs.
Either team’s biggest lead was an 11-point lead for San Antonio early in the third quarter, but the Wizards responded with a 17-3 run led by Kuzma, who scored or assisted on six consecutive baskets.
The Spurs led 75-71 after an optional first half on defense in which the Wizards made 11 of 18 3-point attempts, but San Antonio responded with a 44-24 advantage in the paint.
“I have to give them credit. They’re playing exceptionally well offensively,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “They’re scoring a lot of points. They lead the league in points in the paint. They are doing something right.
Spurs: Lonnie Walker IV scored 23 points. … Murray’s 20 points in the first half tied his and the team’s season record. He also had 20 on Nov. 16 in a loss to the Clippers. … Josh Richardson had been discharged with a sore right shoulder that he woke up with on Friday, Popovich said.
Assistants: Daniel Gafford had 17 points, Deni Avdija had 14, Kispert had 12 and Ish Smith had 10. … C Thomas Bryant, who had started the last nine games, came off the bench after suffering a sprained ankle right in training. … Kristaps Porzingis, acquired in a trade deal with Dallas, remains sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee and Unseld said the team won’t rush him.
Spurs: In Miami on Saturday night.
Wizards: At Cleveland Saturday night.
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