Brooklyn and San Antonio managed to overcome a sloppy first quarter and found themselves engaged in a tight contest for the remainder of the night. Despite a late 10-0 run by San Antonio to push the game to overtime, Brooklyn was successful in getting its first victory in the Alamo City since 2002. The Spurs’ shortage of available rotation players and defensive talent never became too much of an issue until the overtime session.
Brooklyn, absent Kevin Durant, was paced by star efforts from James Harden (30 points, 15 assists, 14 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (27 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) along with support from the unheralded Bruce Brown (23 points) and Nic Claxton (17 points). San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan (22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds), Dejounte Murray (19 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds), and Lonnie Walker IV (19 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds) led a balanced scoresheet with an All-Star worthy effort. Despite the close loss, the Spurs temporarily stayed percentage points ahead of Portland in fifth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
- It’s always pretty cool to see opposing players revere Pop warmly before the throes of competition. Irving and Harden greeted the Spurs coach very warmly prior to tipoff.
- The Fiesta jerseys and court are what’s right with the world.
- Trey Lyles nailed his first catch-and-shoot three.
- Right as Irving swished a 30 foot 3-pointer in transition, Bill Land quipped “(he) really loves this building.” It was just six years ago that he put up 57 points at the AT&T Center.
- Luka Samanic’s effort and competitiveness stood out throughout his important minutes. His quarter-ending make at the end of the third quarter gave him the look of a natural.
- Murray’s jumper off of the dribble-drive seems to have caught up to his finishing ability.
- Patty Mills has such an instinctive feel for drawing offensive fouls from much larger opponents.
- It is truly stomach-churning comparing this version of Harden that racked up countless assists and shouted instructions to teammates on defense juxtaposed to the one that barely gave a care in his final weeks with Houston.
- Sequence of the First Three Quarters: Midway through the third quarter, Walker IV fed Murray on the right baseline and Murray found a cutting Jakob Poeltl for a Jak Jam.
- Sequence of the Evening: As part of the closing 10-0 run to pull San Antonio even, Murray did his best Bob Cousy impersonation and improbably hitting on a buzzer beating jumper to send the game into overtime.
- Keita Bates-Diop connected on a corner three and tipped a carom home late in the third quarter. His shooting form still looks fairly raw and brought back shades of Bruce Bowen.
- Poeltl had a double-double and may have made a compelling case to remain the starter for good.
- Brooklyn copied a script that other opponents have found success with - accumulating points in transition and attacking the rim relentlessly. Bruce Brown was a happy recipient of Harden’s passes for half of the Nets’ early points. Irving seamlessly took over scoring duties from Brown later, while anyone else besides DeRozan struggled to find any shooting touch. The Nets left a rather ragged opening quarter up 27-21.
- Mills’ second 3-pointer kept San Antonio within striking distance. The Nets’ Nic Claxton surprised with energetic paint scoring and outrunning his counterparts. A nifty set of layups by Murray and Mills tied things briefly. However another Nets run closed out by back-to-back Claxton dunks gave Brooklyn a 12-point lead. DeRozan’s stellar shotmaking late in the period shrunk the gap. After a frenetic last minute, the Spurs finished the half fortunate to be down only three.
- While Brookyn’s Irving and Harden dominated their possessions to start the third period, Poeltl nailed a series of floaters in the lane and Walker IV asserted himself more on offense. A Murray layup in transition and a feathery pull-up gave San Antonio its first lead. A Samanic three tied the game at 81 heading into the final stanza.
- Brooklyn mounted a 14-2 run to start the final frame and surged ahead again, while the Spurs shooting touch faded out in a series of disjointed possessions. Three Walker IV 3-pointers provided San Antonio a glimmer of hope. San Antonio made a more concerted effort at the defensive end to contest Harden’s and Irving’s looks.
- In the final 90 seconds, Mills’ fourth three cut and a DeRozan knifing layup cut it to 106-108. As you may have anticipated, Harden spent the next possession dribbing til the last possible moment and missed a banker, which Jordan redirected to Irving. After an inexplicable miss at the rim by Irving, Murray came back the other way and emerged from a wild scrum to hit a 20 foot game-tying desperation heave.
- In the extra frame, Irving, Harden, and Brown pushed the Nets ahead by eight, while the tired Spurs could not convert on a handful of decent looks. A Poeltl dunk and Murray three shaved the deficit, but the Nets’ star power ultimately made the difference.
For the Nets fan’s perspective, please visit Nets Daily.
San Antonio’s NYC set continues with a SEGABABA Tuesday night at 7:30 CT against the surprising New York Knicks.