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Popovich, Spurs look to regroup at Wizards

The San Antonio Spurs will look to improve their playoff position when they visit the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will look to stick around after being ejected in two of the Spurs' last three games, both losses.

On Sunday, Popovich was ejected Sunday during the third quarter of a loss to Sacramento, when he came onto the court to berate an official for an out-of-bounds call.

Wednesday's ejection came much earlier. Popovich appeared angered over a non-foul call and was given a technical. He soon received another from a second official, earning an exit just 63 seconds in a game against the Denver Nuggets.

"You'll have to ask the officials," Popovich told reporters about the ejection after the game.

Assistant coach Ettore Messina took over for Popovich as the Spurs lost 113-85 to the Nuggets, a potential first-round playoff opponent.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Lonnie Walker IV each had 16 points for the Spurs, who shot just 38.3 percent from the field. They were outrebounded 47-38.

San Antonio (45-34) has lost five of its past eight games since winning nine in a row, and trails seventh-place Oklahoma City by half game.

On Thursday, the Spurs announced they signed forward Donatas Motiejunas, who has spent the past two seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association. He previously spent five seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.

"If such a team as San Antonio Spurs offers, there's no need to think, but just to go," Motiejunas said of his decision to join the team.

The Wizards (32-47) dropped a 115-114 decision to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday when Walt Lemon Jr. hit two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining. It was Washington's first game since the dismissal of team president Ernie Grunfeld after 16 seasons on Tuesday.

The Wizards led by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter. They trailed 113-112 before Chasson Randle hit two free throws with 12.7 seconds to play.

Thomas Bryant scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Washington. Bobby Portis had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Bradley Beal added 19 points. Jordan McRae and Sam Dekker scored 14 points each, and Jabari Parker left the game early with a left knee sprain.

"Tonight wasn't about effort," coach Scott Brooks told the team's website. "We competed well. It's just we got to -- guys are playing minutes that we have to make decisions on. These are great opportunities for them to step up.

"We can score the ball. We've been a great offensive team all year, and we have a lot of really good offensive players that are missing. But defensively, we need to find guys that are really going to get better on the defensive end."

In the first quarter, Beal became the first player in franchise history with 2,000 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a season. With the season winding down, he played 22 minutes, sitting out the second and fourth quarters, and said he hopes to play in the remaining three games.

"I made my decision," Beal told reporters. "I'll finish out all 82."

Meanwhile forward Jeff Green did not play for the third straight game.

"There's only so many minutes you can give guys, and Jeff has had a good year for us," Brooks told reporters. "I want to see a few other guys. ... He's going to play another game or two."

--Field Level Media

Updated April 4, 2019

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