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San Antonio vs. Brooklyn, Final Score: Spurs comeback drops Nets, 118-105

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A second-half appearance of stalwart defense and timely shooting staked San Antonio to an encouraging win.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs
Better paint defense by Jakob Poeltl helped initiated the Spurs in transition in the second half
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn, led by Spencer Dinwiddie (41 points and 5 assists) and Jarrett Allen (19 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists) had its win streak broken by the Spurs who rode Patty Mills (27 points) and LaMarcus Aldridge (20 points and 10 rebounds), along with 63 points by the bench, to a successful evening in San Antonio.

Observations

  • The Spurs pushed their home win streak against the Nets franchise to 17 straight home games going back to their New Jersey days.
  • This may be residual trauma from the start of game 7 in the Denver series, but watching repeated missed shots from the tipoff - an Aldridge brick, a DeRozan clank, and a Lyles prayer - was no fun.
  • For the folks in the ‘Bryn must sit because of his bad D’ camp, Joe Harris rocketed by him for two reverse layups in the first period.
  • Lonnie Walker IV made his first appearance late in the second and was quickly able to force a turnover and nail a corner three.
  • Nets play-by-play man Ian Eagle hilariously opined on the background music during an inbound play - “We get it! Maniac!” as he listened to Michael Sembello’s song. Analyst Sarah Kustok retorted “Maybe that’s why they’ve won all these home games!”
  • Dinwiddie’s dominant performance is the kind of thing I’d love to one day see from White, Murray, and Walker. Dinwiddie seemingly made any play he wanted to energize the Brooklyn offense throughout the first three quarters and found a healthy mix between setting up teammates and looking for his own shot.
  • Former Spur Garrett Temple has carved out a nice career for himself as a lead guard, defender, and locker room guy.
  • On our visit to Barclays Center last season, my wife pointed out two banners hanging in the rafters commemorating the number of sold out shows by Jay-Z and Billy Joel. That made me wonder - what would be the AT&T Center equivalent banner recognition: Dwight Yoakam? Selena Gomez? Post Malone? Randy Travis?
  • Since it was Star Wars’ theme night and the ninth installment debuted in theaters, my unofficial rankings: 1. The Empire Strikes Back, 2. A New Hope, 3. Rogue One, 4. The Return of the Jedi, 5. The Last Jedi, 6. Revenge of the Sith, 7. Phantom Menace, 8. Attack of the Clones, 9. Solo.
  • Star Wars characters re-imagined as beloved Spurs: 1. Of course, Obi-Won Ginobili, 2. Bobo (Boris) Fett, 3. Qui-Gon Tim (Duncan), 4. Lonnie SkyWalker, 5. Kylo Renderson (Anderson).
  • Did the Spurs start slow again? YES - Brooklyn, like Han Solo, seemed to shoot first and often as they surged ahead 12-2 on a listless defense, including two emphatic Jarrett Allen dunks. Despite Brooklyn having almost an unimpeded path to the rim on offense, San Antonio was able to stay within striking distance via Mills’ outside shooting. The second stanza revealed much of the same with Dinwiddie finding his own offense. However, San Antonio, behind 21 bench points from Mills, Marco Belinelli, and White, while closing the rebounding gap, kept the deficit at six going into the half.
  • Aldridge and Poeltl played noticeably better paint coverage on the Nets’ pick-and-rolls. Forbes hit his first shot from considerable distance to close the game to five. At the other end, Allen maintained a formidable presence in the paint and San Antonio seemed content to pine away from distance. FIBA-version Mills led yet another bench push, and the Spurs gained their first lead with a White pull-up three and a Mills layup.
  • David Nwaba suffered a torn right Achilles early in the fourth quarter. Mills kept up his scorching touch and an end-to-end White fast break dunk concluded a 19-0 San Antonio run. Dinwiddie attacked the Spurs bigs relentlessly to get San Antonio in early foul trouble. A Forbes foul (on a closeout similar to Zaza Pachulia’s incident with Kawhi Leonard in 2017) was ruled a ‘Flagrant-1’ and Brooklyn benefited from a five-point possession. The Nets also went into the penalty midway through the period, and San Antonio was able to make it 102-94. Undeterred, Dinwiddie singlehandedly kept the Nets close on a dizzying array of conversions. Behind excellent half-court execution, the Spurs closed out the game well and notched an important victory.
  • This sequence happened: after a Belinelli miss, he knocked away a Brooklyn dribble, converted a contested layup at the other end, and then drew an offensive foul on Temple!

For the Nets fan’s perspective, please go to Nets Daily.

The Spurs conclude their homestand Saturday evening with a tilt against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Tipoff is at 7:30 CDT.