I don't know about you guys, but I didn't expect much coming into this one. I mean, the Spurs came into the game with just 10 players available after playing a double overtime thriller the night before. Already down Tim Duncan (rest), Tony Parker (back), Kawhi Leonard (hand), and Manu Ginobili (hamstring) the Spurs lost Boris Diaw because he had a tummy ache. With 4:30 left in the second quarter the Spurs also lost Nando de Colo for the rest of the half when he fouled Andrei Kirilenko with his nose. While committing the foul he also broke his nose. That's now two broken noses on the Spurs.
Matt Bonner also ran into Shaun Livingston's shoulder with his face and probably re-broke his nose as well. He was bleeding and had to go to the locker room. He came back out because he wanted to play, but with the game out of reach I guess Popovich decided to spare him any further damage.
To the Spurs' credit they came out early with good energy and were able to open up a 12-point lead halfway through the first quarter. The Spurs knocked down their shots early and played with energy on their own end. Brooklyn came out flat and it seemed like San Antonio maybe had a chance to steal this game.
Brooklyn didn't seem to really be too interested in this game and they let the Spurs hang around until halftime. The Nets took 13 more shots, turned the ball over three less times, and grabbed 10 more rebounds than the Spurs in the first half, and they were indeed leading going into the break, but it was by a single point. The Spurs three-point shooting, and surprisingly their ability to get to the free-throw line while limiting the fouls on the other end, were keeping the good guys in the game.
In the third quarter the Spurs made a little run to cut the lead to three after falling behind by ten, but they were unable to take a lead. Patty Mills did cut the lead to two with just under two minutes left in the third, but Alan Anderson put in a cheat code and scored seven points in 53 seconds and the Nets finished the quarter up by seven.
During the fourth quarter it was clear that not only were the Spurs lacking bodies, but that they were also out of energy. The Spurs did hang around for the first three minutes of the quarter, where they were down by just five. It was at this point that Matty's face found Livingston's shoulder, which looked VERY painful, and he was forced out of the game. Six more points and an assist from Alan Anderson and the Nets were up by 10 two minutes later with seven minutes left in the quarter.
The Spurs' offense wasn't able to get anything going without anyone who can really be relied upon to create for himself or his teammates. The shots didn't fall, the rhythm was off, and with three minutes left Brooklyn pushed the lead to 14. That ended up being the final margin in this one.
This game was entirely forgettable. On paper the Nets had all of the advantages going into this one. They were well-rested, and the Spurs were exhausted. Brooklyn had their best players (minus Brook Lopez who's out for the season) available, while the good guys were playing without five of their best six best players. You could say they were without their five best players and I wouldn't argue. So yeah, San Antonio lost this game. No big deal. Timmy will be rested for the Bobcats on Saturday and hopefully we'll have Tony and Boris back for that one as well.
For the perspective of the Nets' fans visit NetsDaily.
- Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce didn't make much of an impact on this game. Pierce was 5-of-6 from the field for 12 points, while KG was 4-of-9 for eight points. They played 40 minutes combined. KG played 18 minutes, and I hated every one of them. I can't stand that guy. The good news, the Spurs will not play the Nets again this season and we won't have to look at him.
- The Spurs were out-rebounded by 15. That's not good.
- The Spurs took 19 more free throws and made 17 more of them than the Nets. That is good. Cory Joseph was 7-for-7 from the charity stripe which has to be a career high for attempts and makes for him.
- The Spurs totaled 14 assists. There was no one to create for them tonight, and what is probably a season low in assists is not surprising. The Nets meanwhile, had 29.
- Nando de Colo finished with a plus-10 for the night. He's been playing well lately and it's too bad he had to leave the game with that nose problem.
- It's nice to see Danny Green back and playing so many minutes. He was clearly on top of his conditioning and tonight he went 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from deep. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. I'm optimistic about him right now.
Up next for the Spurs
The Spurs get a day off before they face the Bobcats in Charlotte on Saturday night. The Bobcats have won five of their last eight, including putting a defensive beat down on everyone's favorite League Pass team, the Golden State Warriors, on Saturday. Big Al Jefferson has been scoring all of the points lately - averaging 29.2ppg to go along with his 12.2rpg over his last five games. This will probably be a tough game for the Spurs, especially if Tony and Boris are still out.