The Skinny: The Nets had a 9-0 run early to establish the lead, with Joe Johnson starting the game with the hot hand. The Spurs held their own offensively to keep the score close, but Brooklyn went on a 10-0 run, sparked by two three-pointers by Keith Bogans, to take an 11-point lead. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 10 points in the first quarter. Brooklyn score 35 points in the opening frame – the most since early January – and led by 10 after one.
Kris Humphries looked good off the bench to help the Nets maintain the lead. But the Spurs were hot from the field and the free-throw line in the second quarter to cut the lead to three. Johnson scored five points in the final minute to put the Nets up six at the break. It was Brooklyn’s first halftime lead in the past six games.
San Antonio kept up their hot shooting to start the third quarter, as a 14-2 run gave the Spurs the lead early in the frame. Tony Parker attacked the rim from all different angles, but Johnson and Lopez kept the Nets within striking distance. Parker though could not be stopped, helping the Spurs establish a 10-point lead after three.
The Spurs were relentless in the fourth quarter as they opened a 25-point lead and cruised to an easy win.
High Scorers: Parker led all scorers with 29 points on 12-of-21 from the field and dished out 11 assists for the double-double. For the Nets, Johnson led the way with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting.
Key Stats: The Nets had 18 turnovers in the game compared to seven by the Spurs. San Antonio scored 30 points off Brooklyn turnovers. The Spurs also shot 12-of-19 (63 percent) from three-point range, which is the highest percentage an opponent has shot against the Nets this season.
Who Was Hot: Lopez finished 8-of-13 from the floor for 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Danny Green made 4-of-8 three-pointers and scored 14 points. Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw were a combined 5-of-5 from three-point range and finished with 11 and 1o points, respectively.
Who Was Not: Reggie Evans hit on just one of his six free-throw attempts. Losing the turnover battle was really what killed the Nets in this one.
Fun Fact: Nets’ interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo was the assistant coach for the Spurs under long-time Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich from 2002-2007. The team won three NBA titles during that stretch.
Even without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Parker torched the Nets. He was unstoppable in the Spurs’ 31-point win against Brooklyn and New Year’s Eve, and he was even better in this one.
Brooklyn’s scoring output decreased each of the next two quarters after the 35-point first quarter. The Nets actually put together a decent second quarter, scoring 21 points after going five straight games without hitting the 20-point mark in the second frame.
But the third quarter did the Nets in once again. The team shot 6-of-14, which isn’t a terrible percentage, but five turnovers limited what Brooklyn could do offensively.
The Spurs are the first team in the NBA to reach the 40-win mark and have now defeated the Nets in 19 of the last 20 matchups. San Antonio has also held the Nets under 100 points in 30 straight games, which is the longest active such streak in the NBA.
This isn’t exactly how the Nets wanted to start their stretch of seven straight games against teams over. 500.
The Nets all of a sudden are 3-6 in their last nine games after such a hot start under Carlesimo. Some personnel changes may be on the horizon to rejuvenate this team.
Brooklyn (29-22) gets the chance to immediately rebound from Sunday’s poor effort Monday night in Indiana against the Pacers. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.