The Spurs are a team that can stay with the NBA’s elite teams when they’re playing well, but they always have lapses of a few minutes, often at the ends of quarters. Tonight, it was one of those lapses, as they lost composure at the end of the third quarter and let the Nets go off on a 6-0 run to go into the fourth quarter with a lead that ended up costing them control of the contest. The Nets turned on the heat in the final frame, and put the game out of reach with Kyrie Irving and James Harden putting the Spurs away despite good performances from Dejounte Murray with his ninth triple-double of the season, and Derrick White, who sacrificed his body to keep the Spurs in the game. For the Spurs to be able to win these kinds of games this year, they have to play nearly perfect and mistake-free basketball, and that’s not something you are going to get from this young and inexperienced bunch. The Spurs will try again on Sunday evening to secure a win, this time against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.
- This is one of the better uniform matchups I’ve seen this year. The bright colors of the Fiesta uniforms against the somber Nets togs.
- Keldon Johnson banged knees with James Harden and had to go to the locker room halfway through the first quarter. He returned a few minutes later and looked fine.
- Michelle Beadle was on the broadcast. I feel like I would really enjoy hanging out with her, and also really enjoy her input during the pregame show, but usually when she’s commenting during game play, it’s about anything but the game in front of her. Tonight she stuck to the game, and it was a lot more fun to watch.
- Blake Griffin always seemed like he’s just been coasting on his talent, but in this game, he put in a workmanlike performance, working hard on both ends of the court. I could almost like this Blake.
- Patty seemed to be having a cold night early but he hit a few shots late in the game. He really didn’t end up being a big factor in the game. Maybe he was just taking it easy on his buds and his Boomer teammate, Jock.
- People don’t talk too much about LaMarcus Aldridge’s Texas ties, but I’ve been a fan of his since he was a Longhorn. I would be really happy for him to get a championship, even if it mean that Harden ended up also having one.
- With all of the superstars on the Nets, somebody like Day’Ron Sharpe is easy to overlook, but he’s just the kind of player they need, they don’t run plays for him, but he provides a pressure relief in the paint and gets rebounds when they need them. You can only have so many ball hog superstars on the court at one time.
- The Spurs have not won a game this year when trailing after three quarters. That is still the case.
- Juancho Hernangomez got his first action for the Spurs tonight in garbage time and had a turnover, which he probably didn’t deserve, since he was just trying to save a ball from going out of bounds.
After trading misses for a minute or so, the Nets started out the scoring with Harden getting a semi-fast break floater, and an answer from Dejounte to put the Spurs up 3-2. The Nets started out hot and rushed out to a 14-5 lead as coach Pop called a timeout to stop the bleeding. The Spurs came out of the timeout playing harder, but not smarter, and slowly began to slog towards parity as both teams looked like they were playing in hip waders in a mud pit through much of the quarter. The Spurs led 26-24 at the end of the quarter on a Jock Landale hook shot with 3 seconds left.
The second quarter started with both bench units on the court, and the score was close as both teams’ offenses were scoring sporadically with Keldon Johnson carrying the load for the Silver and Black and Blake Griffin filling in for the Nets, who even took a charge from Keldon Johnson on defense. The starters got back in late in the quarter, and Derrick White’s two three point shots gave the Spurs a late lead. A terrible inbounds pass by the Spurs with 2 seconds left gave the Nets an opportunity for a halftime lead, but Patty Mills missed the floater, and the Spurs led 51-50 at the break.
The third started with Patty Mills finally getting untracked, with a quick 5 points in the first few minutes, to tie it up for the grey-clad visitors. An elbow to the face from James Harden laid out Derrick White, but somehow it wasn’t called a foul by the visually challenged referees, and they also declined to review the play even with White bleeding on the court. Harden, like a shark who had tasted blood went on an individual 7-0 run to put the Nets back in the lead. The Spurs started to regain their composure late in the quarter and when White came back in and hit a triple, followed by taking a charge on Harden, they were on their way back, retaking the lead 74-73 on a pair of White free throws. The Nets took advantage of Spurs turnovers to finish the quarter with a 6-0 run and lead 79-73 after three quarters.
Kyrie Irving started off the fourth with a wide open look to give the Nets a 7 point lead. Irving was on a tear, as he scored the first 7 points for Brooklyn in the quarter. Dejounte did what he could to keep the Spurs in it, but just like the Suns earlier this week, the Nets turned up their intensity, and were up by double digits, leading to an early Popovich timeout. Gregg Popovich, who had been working the referees for most of the game, finally got a well-earned tech as Griffin came over the back of a Spurs player to steal a rebound. Unfortunately, that couldn’t stop the Brooklyn onslaught as they took the took a 14 point lead with 4 minutes left on a Kyrie Irving triple. Both teams ended the frame with bench players, with Juancho Hernangomez getting his first minutes as a Spur with the Nets winning 117-102.
What’s Next . . .
For the Nets’ fans perspective, visit Nets Daily.
The Spurs record is now 17-29 and they are in 13th place in the west. The next game up is on Sunday at 6:00 PM against the Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.