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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets

While the Spurs haven’t looked great at the AT&T Center this year, the visiting Nets have never won there. They’ll try to keep that tradition intact as they bounce back from their first road loss of the season on Thursday.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a former Spurs exec makes. Even with a 6-15 record and little hope to improve over the draft in the next few years, the fog of despair seems to be lifting over Brooklyn with new GM Sean Marks in town.

The Nets haven’t made any big moves (not for lack of trying, as seen most recently with Rockets’ big man Donatas Motiejunas), but their patient approach and focus on improving along the margins are probably the right way to do things.

Brooklyn’s had to make do without starter Jeremy Lin, which is especially tough considering PG was their thinnest position to begin with. They’ve been rolling out second-round draft pick Isaiah Whitehead as their starting point guard lately, amid a stretch where they’ve lost 10 of their last 12.

One of those wins did come against the reeling Clippers, though, which reflects the variance that’s possible when a young team takes a lot of threes (4th in the league at 34.4 attempts per game) and pushes the pace (1st in the league, 101.6 possessions per game). There’s a scenario where the Nets join the growing list of mediocre teams that give San Antonio trouble at home. It’s the Spurs’ job to not let that happen.

San Antonio Spurs (18-5) vs. Brooklyn Nets (6-15)

Dec. 10, 2016 | 7:30 CST
Watch: FSSW Listen: 1200 AM WOAI

Spurs injuries: Tony Parker (knee)
Nets injuries: Jeremy Lin (hamstring)

Bro Lo shooting threes

My favorite trend for this season is slow, plodding bigs like Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez taking their game back to the three-point line — mostly because it means there’s a better chance we have moments like this.

After never shooting more than 14 in a season, Lopez is attempting almost six threes per game — and hitting 38% of them! Pau Gasol will need a little more urgency when closing out, but don’t be surprised by a quick timeout if Lopez is left open early.

Speaking of urgency.

The Spurs need to start stronger

A good chance to get sharper offensively

The Nets allow the most points in the league and have the worst defensive rating. They’ve given up 111 points to every team they’ve faced over the last month. I’m not sure there are more than two or three above-average defenders on their roster.

Outside of Kawhi Leonard’s superlative individual efforts, the Spurs haven’t found their offensive rhythm yet. Tonight is a good opportunity to work towards that.

Vegas line: Spurs by 14.

Game prediction: Spurs by 8.

For the Nets fans' perspective, visit Nets Daily.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR's Twitter feed.