The San Antonio Spurs showed the New Jersey Nets no love on Valentine’s Day as the top-seed in the Western Conference earned a 102-85 victory at the Prudential Center.
The Spurs have now won five straight games on Valentine’s Day and improve to NBA-bests 46-9 overall and 21-7 on the road. The Nets dropped their second consecutive contest and fall to 17-39.
San Antonio’s All-Star power forward Tim Duncan came into the game averaging 22.3 points and 13.2 rebounds against the Nets in his 14-year NBA career. He posted similar numbers in just 23 minutes with 15 points and 11 rebounds, good enough for his 19th double-double of the season.
Spurs’ guards Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker also proved too much for the Nets to handle. Ginobili led all scorers with 22 points, while Parker gave an all-around effort, finishing with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
The Nets offensive woes continue as they shot just 34 percent from the field.
“We missed countless wide open shots,” said Nets head coach Avery Johnson, who played 10 years for the Spurs and is the franchise leader in assists. “We can’t shoot 34 percent and expect to win a game like this against this team.”
Though he recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, Nets center Brook Lopez had a tough night. Guarded meticulously by Duncan, Lopez forced shots all game and finished an abysmal 5-of-16 from the field.
Duncan took control of the game early and scored 11 of his 15 points in the first quarter, including a 7-0 individual run. The Nets kept it close and only trailed by four after one.
Nets’ guards Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar gave the team an energy boost off the bench in the second quarter. With Duncan on the bench, a 13-4 Nets run gave New Jersey a five-point lead.
Once Duncan returned, however, the Spurs answered back immediately with an 8-0 run as part of an extended 17-7 run to close out the first half leading by 11 points.
The Nets closed to within six to start the third quarter, but San Antonio began pulling away as the Nets failed to knock down easy shots. The six point deficit quickly became a 23-point insurmountable Spurs’ lead.
Six Spurs scored in double figures. Second-year 270-pound center DeJuan Blair had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Nets’ small forward Travis Outlaw matched Lopez for the team-high with 11 points but on just 4-of-13 shooting. The 11 points marks the lowest team high-score for the Nets all season.
“For the most part, second shots killed us,” said Lopez. “The majority of their guys have played together for a long time, and you can tell just by the way they move the ball.”
“This was a terrific team that we played against,” said Johnson. “They have the best record in the league for a reason. They go about their business, and they’re very methodical in their approach.”
The schedule remains challenging as the Nets return to action Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. on the road against the Boston Celtics. New Jersey will try to build some much-needed momentum heading into the weekend’s All-Star break.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mancari
James (Jim) Mancari hails from Massapequa, NY. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with degrees in History and Kinesiology. Jim currently is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY). He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets' fans, Jim has plenty of hope. Jim also writes for the NJ Nets on this site. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He appreciates and respects additional opinions.