The San Antonio Spurs are off to the best start at home in franchise history and are leading the league in several defensive categories.
Coach Gregg Popovich is there to remind them as only he can that there is still much to improve.
Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points and the Spurs set a franchise record with their 23rd straight home victory, rolling past the Washington Wizards, 114-95, on Wednesday night.
After trailing early into the second quarter, San Antonio rallied following a fiery timeout to win its franchise-best 14th straight home game to open the season.
"We're feeling good, but we're not in a mood where we think we we're going to beat everybody and we're better than everybody," Spurs super sub Manu Ginobili said. "We still know we have a lot to improve."
LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 points and Ginobili and Patty Mills each had 11 for San Antonio (22-5), which has won 16 straight at home against the Washington.
John Wall and Marcin Gortat had 20 points apiece for the Wizards. Gortat grabbed 10 rebounds.
Washington was without leading scorer Bradley Beal and fellow starter Nene, but their absence wasn't felt early.
Wall and Ramon Sessions attacked the interior with Tim Duncan sitting out for rest, helping the Wizards shoot 60 percent in the first quarter.
"The first quarter we came out ready to play," Gortat said. "We were really engaged and a lot of players played at a high level. To be honest, to beat a team like that you need pretty much everybody on the team to play their best to beat a team like that."
The Spurs got a defensive boost when 7-foot-3 rookie Boban Marjanovic entered late in the first quarter.
Marjanovic disrupted Kelly Oubre's shot and then blocked his follow attempt by standing over him with his arms outstretched. Marjanovic was active in disrupting pick-and-roll attempts and switching on picks.
"I feel great, I want to help my teammates," Marjanovic said. "I try to bring good defense and not bother guys who can score. I think I do a great there, because I get second opportunities for us."
Marjanovic finished with seven points, six rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes.
"I like his height," Popovich said. "I guess that sounds funny, but he uses it well. It helps him on the offensive boards. He's a great target on the pick-and-rolls. Besides that, he's trying to change shots and play defensively, so he's doing a good job."
The biggest boost came during the third quarter, when a red-faced Popovich screamed at his players and forcefully pointed at several during a timeout. That was followed by a 17-6 run that led to a 78-62 advantage.
San Antonio, which leads the league defensively in opponents' points per game and field goal percentage, held Washington to 19 points in the third quarter.
"We started off pretty slow," Leonard said. "They got to the rim a lot, got easy points on the fast break. We made some adjustments and just tried to hold them to 20-point quarters."
Besides Beal and Nene, the Wizards were also without Alan Anderson (left ankle surgery) and Drew Gooden (right calf strain).
"We can't use that as an excuse," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "We just haven't been consistent in terms of night in and night out. Night in and night out, your shooting can change. You take shots and miss shots, but defensively, and effort-wise putting the commitment into it has to be every night."
Notes: Beal missed his fourth straight game with a stress reaction in his lower right fibula. He missed three games earlier this season with a sore left shoulder. ... Former Spurs player DeJuan Blair was booed each time he entered the game and when he shot free throws. ... Washington's last victory in San Antonio was 99-89 on Dec. 11, 1999.
Major League Lacrosse
Bayhawks add Ossello in supplemental draft
The Chesapeake Bayhawks bolstered their defense Wednesday by adding four defensemen and goalie Kip Turner (Severn) in the Major League Lacrosse supplemental draft. Chesapeake selected midfielder Nick Ossello with the No. 2 overall pick after a trade with the Charlotte Hounds. The expansion Atlanta Blaze selected attackman Jeremy Boltus at No. 1 in the draft designed to help teams bolster their rosters from 23 to 35. The Bayhawks picked defensemen Kyle Sweeney and Callum Robinson (Stevenson) in the second and third rounds, respectively, and added Turner in the eighth round and defenders Andrew Casimir in the ninth and Ray Megill in the 12th. Chesapeake also selected midfielders Joe McCallion, Matt Bertrams, Rob Guida (Johns Hopkins), Tony Rossi (Stevenson, CCBC-Essex, Calvert Hall), Ryan Belka (DeMatha Catholic alumnus from Crofton), Mike O'Neil and Joe Lustgarten (UMBC); faceoff specialist Matt Dolente (Johns Hopkins); and attackman Alex Love.
Ex-Terps wideout Ulmer to play for Iowa Western CC
Former Maryland wide receiver Will Ulmer, who was given his release to transfer Oct. 14, will join Iowa Western Community College for a season, he announced Tuesday evening on his Twitter account. Rivals.com first reported Ulmer's decision. By transferring to a junior college, Ulmer will not have to sit out a season, which he would have had to do if he had transferred to another Division I school. Iowa Western finished the season ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Ulmer, a redshirt freshman, never appeared in a game in his Maryland career.
For more of Daniel Gallen's blog post on Ulmer, go to baltimoresuncom.terps
More Maryland football: Maryland cornerback Will Likely was named to the Associated Press All-Big Ten team as a first-team all-purpose player and a second-team cornerback. Yannick Ngakoue was a second-team selection at defensive end. ... Illinois announced that offensive line coach Tom Brattan will not be retained. Brattan was hired in 2014 after 13 seasons at Maryland.
Lacrosse: US Lacrosse endorsed recent actions by the men's and women's coaches associations and urged the NCAA to adopt legislative proposals that restrict the recruiting calendar, including all communication between a coach and prospect, to after Sept. 1 of a prospect's junior year of high school. The Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association voted Friday to support proposals forwarded to the NCAA three months earlier by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association that ban college coaches from any contact with prospects before that time. The IWLCA proposals are being considered by the NCAA's student-athlete experience committee.
Water polo: Johns Hopkins' Ted Bresnahan was named Division III National Coach of the Year. Blue Jays senior Langdon Froomer was named to the All-America first team; senior Kevin Yee, sophomore John Wilson and freshman Giorgio Cico were named to the All-America teams.
Former Orioles slugger Reynolds joins Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have finalized a one-year, $2.6 million deal with former Orioles corner infielder Mark Reynolds. Reynolds, 32, a right-handed batter, hit .230 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 140 games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015. He figures to compete for time at first base with Ben Paulsen. Reynolds might also spell Nolan Arenado at third base.
More baseball: Orioles outfielder L.J. Hoes will host his fourth annual "Gift of Joy" Toy Drive on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Dave & Buster's in the Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover. The event will benefit St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth, and Families in Hyattsville. The drive will feature a memorabilia raffle and giveaway, a silent auction, and an appearance by the Oriole Bird. To gain entry, guests are encouraged to donate a toy or make a donation of at least $10.
Men's hockey: Verizon Center in Washington will host two World Cup of Hockey exhibitions in September, one between the United States and Finland on Sept. 13 and another between Team Europe and Sweden on Sept. 14. Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., will also host practices for all four teams. Capitals full-season account members who have renewed their full-season plans for the 2016-17 season will have the first opportunity to buy ticket packages. Practices at Kettler, atop the Ballston Common Mall, will be free and open to the public.
—Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post
NFL: The Cincinnati Bengals promoted quarterback Keith Wenning from their practice squad. Wenning was a sixth-round draft choice of the Ravens in 2014.
Youth football: The third-annual Nike Youth All Star Game presented by Elite Youth Training will be Saturday at Woodlawn High School. The 8-and-under game will be at 10 a.m., followed by the sixth-grade game at noon and the 12-14 game at 2 p.m. Teams are coached by Maryland high school coaches.