San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
December 31, 2013, 6:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
Has anyone seen a 190 million dollar dumpster fire? If you haven't, one rolls through San Antonio tonight when the Brooklyn Nets take the court against the Spurs. The Nets entered the season hoping to contend for the Eastern Conference Championship along with the Pacers and the Heat. Flash-forward to right now and the Nets are already out of logical conversations pertaining to the teams that could reach the NBA Finals.
Brooklyn is 10-20 on the season and 4-6 in its last 10 games while lingering in mediocrity in nearly every statistical category. The Nets are in the bottom-third of the league in points allowed, points scored, rebounds and assists. This is a team that brought in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce after finishing 49-33 last season. The first-year coaching experiment of Jason Kidd has been a disaster and Deron Williams is starting to fall further and further back in the discussion of best point guards in the league.
Oh, and the Nets lost arguably their best player, Brook Lopez, to foot surgery. The dumpster is on fire, so let that mother trucker burn. That is what the Spurs hope to do tonight against a team that has shown no ability to rise up and shock a contender this season. There are plenty of bad teams in the NBA capable of pulling upsets if the right pieces fall into place on a given night, but the Nets just don't appear to be one of those teams.
Lopez was the Nets' leading scorer this season with 20.8 points per game before his injury. Joe Johnson is second on the team with 15.8 points per game in 34.3 minutes. Williams, Pierce and Andray Blatche also average in double-figures, but none of them average more than 13 points per game. Garnett is averaging more rebounds (7) than points (6.6), yet his seven rebounds are leading the team. Like I said, dumpster fire.
This is all good news for a Spurs team that may be struggling to secure signature wins, but has shown the ability to win the games it is supposed to win, which can be the hardest thing to do in the NBA regular season. The Spurs are currently one game into a four-game home stand, sitting at 1-0 after a victory over Sacramento on Sunday. San Antonio follows tonight's game with a home-contest against the Knicks on Thursday before facing off with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
San Antonio won't face another "title contender" until a home game against Portland on Jan. 17. Winning games like tonight's contest against the Nets is what allows Pop to rest his guys down the stretch and in critical games. It is hard to imagine the Spurs losing this game, but it is the type of game that can help the Spurs down the road, even if the results don't seem shocking.
Matchup to watch: The only way Brooklyn can win this game is to get hot from the outside and hope the Spurs press the snooze button for 48 minutes. If San Antonio can close out on shooters and limit mental mistakes, the Spurs should cruise through the second game of the home stand without much resistance. Brooklyn is a team hoping to shut it down each night, and the Spurs just have to provide the reason early in the game to set this one on cruise control.
Nets perspective can be found at NetsDaily, and their excellent piece on the Nets and Spurs is a must read.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 9.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.
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