Second verse, same as the first. In a repeat of last night’s debacle against the Knicks, the Spurs were no better across the borough against the Brooklyn Nets. Once again the home team led almost wire-to-wire, jacking up (and making) threes against a lost Spurs defense, and no one besides LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay showing up on offense. After the 101-85 loss, they now head home with a disastrous 1-7 record for the Rodeo Road Trip (but somehow not too much worse for wear in the standings).
Those three combined for 62 points, while D’Angelo Russell had 23 points to lead the Nets.
- Bill Land and Sean Elliott were heard but never shown in the broadcast (except for Sean during the challenge and postgame). It turns out Bill face-planted while taking a walk in NYC today that required an urgent care visit. Hopefully he’s okay (his arm was in a splint/cast), and he toughed it out by doing the broadcast, but it sounds like he was not camera material today. (Sean humorously said he looked better than usual, which probably means he’s pretty banged up.)
- Davis Bertans got the start over Gay tonight. I’m not sure if Pop was looking for more instant offense, a chance to give Gay fewer minutes on a back-to-back while still playing him, or to pit the snubbed Bertans against three-point contest winner Joe Harris. It wasn’t much of a contest if that was the case, with Harris hitting 5-6 to Bertans’ 0-2.
- Regardless I wish when they have their coveted nine-man rotation available Pop would stick with the usual line-ups, because we know it works. Not to keep piling on Bertans tonight, and I’m not sure about the complete logistics or situations behind it (sometimes Gay was out, sometimes Derrick White was out), but coincidence or not the Spurs are just 4-8 when he starts this season. For whatever reason — the system, who he’s playing alongside, etc — it just doesn’t work.
- The Nets were happy chucking up threes over the Spurs zone defense, and for a while it wasn’t too bad. They only hit 6-18 threes in first quarter and 19-50 overall, but they also shot 16-31 from two (yes, they shot 19 more threes than twos). Meanwhile the Spurs remained a discombobulated mess on offense as they only shot 36.8% for the game with no one outside of the Mid Three hitting anywhere close to half their shots. In fact, the rest of the Spurs only shot 9-52 for a horrendous 17.3%.
- I love Marco Belinelli as much as anyone, but when he isn’t hitting his shots he’s completely useless due to his horrific defense. Whether he’s late on a rotation or there but just unlucky, his man always hits threes.
- DeRozan got his 7th technical of the season in the midst of a Nets 15-4 run to close the half after the Spurs had closed to within 3, and once again it’s kinda hard to blame him. After getting clearly getting swiped across the arms on multiple occasions with no call, he was called for a phantom foul on Caris LeVert, who had the Nets’ last 12 points of the half. Ball kinda don’t lie because Harris missed the technical free throw, but LeVert still made the regular free throws.
- Once again, the Spurs dug themselves too deep of a hole to climb out of, getting down by as much as 23 before attempting a comeback too late in the fourth. They got within 12 with less than 5 minutes left, but another Nets three was enough for Pop to waive the white flag. The cattle-infused odor of the AT&T Center probably never smelled so sweet.
For the Nets fans’ perspective, visit Nets Daily.
This marks the end of the 2019 Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs are heading back home to take on the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 7:30 PM CT on FSSW.