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San Antonio at Brooklyn, Final Score: Spurs torched in wire-to-wire blowout by Nets, 139-103

The Spurs had no answers for the super duo of Durant and Irving.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs have started 2023 with a dud. Heading to the home of the Brooklyn Nets, winners of 11 straight and the hottest team in the league, a Spurs win probably wasn’t on the menu, but this was a wire-to-wire blowout loss and one of the rare occasions outside of November where the effort and focus just wasn’t there for San Antonio. The game was extended garbage time from midway through the second quarter and on, as the Spurs lost 139-103.

Keldon Johnson was the only Spurs starter who had anything going on offense, forcing his way to the rim for 22 points on 7-13 shooting. On the other end, Kyrie Irving torched the Spurs early before cruising to a 27-point game, and Kevin Durant added 25 points as the star dup of a combined to shoot 21-28 from the field.


  • Jeremy Sochan one-handed free-throw tracker: 1-1 (20-28, 71.4% percent; overall percentage has risen from 43.3% to 59.6%)
  • It’s kind of weird seeing Ben Simmons on the court again (although he was in a familiar color scheme with the Nets sporting their red, white and blue ABA throwbacks — the same color scheme as the 76ers), but he forced an early Pop timeout after Jakob Poeltl chose to guard him out at the three-point line, and he drove right by for a lay-up to give the Nets an early 8-4 lead. Pop probably had to remind his guys that Simmons does not shoot three-pointers — he has literally one attempt in 27 games this season — so sag off.
  • The Spurs had no answer for the red-hot Nets in the first quarter, particularly Irving, who couldn’t miss with 15 points on 6-6 shooting. Meanwhile, the Spurs had five turnovers and tried to force the issue too often. The Nets got the lead as high as 17 before the bench units came in made the score just slightly less of an eyesore for the Spurs at 37-25 by the end of the quarter.
  • The Nets started the second quarter on a 14-2 run to stretch the lead out to 24 points before Devin Vassell finally hit a three to break the ice on the offensive end for Spurs, but they still had no answer for the Nets on the other end, as they continued to receive and make almost any look they wanted, taking a 74-47 halftime lead after scoring 37 points in both quarters.
  • There weren’t many free throws for either team in the first half, but it sure felt like the refs were letting a lot of contact go, especially down low on the Spurs’ end. One play that stood out was in the final minute of the first half, when Zach Collins had the ball under the basket. Three different Nets players were swiping at him and eventually dislodged the ball, and it was hard to believe there no foul there. Maybe I just pity Collins since he can never catch a break from the refs on the defensive end.
  • The Spurs are always good for at least one decent run, and it came at the start of the second half. They were playing like they got a talking-to from Gregg Popovich at halftime, showing a little more effort on both ends, highlighted by Poeltl scoring four second-chance, and the team as a whole starting on a 9-2 run. That would be the end of that, however, as the Nets woke back up and presumed the stretch the lead to 29 heading into the fourth quarter, and the rest of the game was extended garbage time. Even the refs wanted this one to end, refusing to blow the whistle outside of blatant fouls in the fourth quarter.
  • Romeo Langford continues to make a case for playing time, even when he’s out of the rotation. He didn’t enter until the game was out of hand, but his signature defense was there, and he got four dunks for his effort. He’s just enjoyable to watch if you’re an old-fashioned Spurs fan who appreciates the fundamentals.
  • Another branch of the Pop coaching tree, former Spur Jacque Vaughn has really turned this Nets team around. I don’t have enough knowledge of Steve Nash as a coach to really speak as to why things didn’t work out for him, but he and the team mutually agreed to part ways amidst all the early-season Irving controversies and Durant reportedly wanting him gone. Maybe he just didn’t have what it took to control his stars, but whatever he lacked to get this team together, Vaughn has brought it. It’s good to see another Pop prodigy succeeding.

For the Nets fans’ perspective, visit Nets Daily.

The Spurs will be heading across the Brooklyn Bridge to take on the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 6:30 PM CT on Bally Sports SW-SA.