Over the last eight games, the Spurs have been the league’s worst scoring team in the first quarter. Apparently they got that message, because they started significantly better against the Nets, leading 20-17 while shooting 60% of their shots by the 5:15 mark. The hot shooting continued, and the result was a 41-26 lead at the end of the quarter, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 9 points and 4 rebounds.
The Spurs kept their foot on the gas to start the second quarter, using good ball movement to find the open shooters. They led 56-38 five minutes in, hitting 7 of 12 from above the arc and 61.5% overall. The shooting inevitably fell off a bit from there, but the Spurs still maintained a double-digit lead throughout and entered the half with a season-high 67 points to the Nets’ 52. Leonard led all scorers with 20 points.
The Spurs quickly pushed the lead back to 20 to start the third. Leonard scored another 10 points, including a three at the five minute mark to make it a 23-point game. The defense tightened up, the offense stayed hot, and shots kept falling. Patty Mills scored eight quick points to push the lead to 29, and they finished the quarter up 101-70.
For the first time since the season opener at Golden State, the fourth quarter was entirely garbage time. Everyone who played scored, and the Spurs won 130 to 101 on 53.2% shooting. It was nice to see them finally play a complete game, not take their opponent for granted, and thoroughly beat an inferior team at home. Hopefully they learned some positive things about themselves that they can use going forward.
Check back later for more on this one. The Spurs have three days off before returning to action on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics.