AT&T CENTER – Prior to facing the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he and his team were glad to finally be done with the scheduling of November and December.
“I told the guys the other day, we survived November and December fairly well. We’re healthy through those two tough months of travel and hopefully we can get some time to practice and get back to a level we would like to be at.”
On the final day of December, the Spurs couldn’t ask for an easier matchup to send them off into the New Year as they blew out the Nets 113-92 behind 18 points from Tony Parker and a team effort in which six players score in double-figures.
With the Nets coming in ranked 22nd in Defensive Rating, the Spurs came out with a 14 point lead in first quarter. The Spurs’ defense in the second quarter held the Nets to 16 points as the Spurs took a 23-point lead into the half.
In the second half, the blow out ensued as the Spurs’ lead got as high as 32 points in the third quarter as they put up 39 points in the quarter. In the fourth, the Nets’ bench would battle the Spurs’ sub units as San Antonio maintained over a 20-point lead for the majority of the fourth. For a long stretch in the fourth, Popovich ran a Patty Mills, Cory Joseph, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres, and Aron Baynes lineup to end the game.
Tony Parker: Along with his 18 points, Parker also finished with six assists while only playing in three quarters. Parker got most of his work done in the first half where he scored 16 of his 18 points. Parker knifed through the Nets’ defense as Deron Williams had little success in defending him. On one play, Parker held the ball at the top of the key, drove by Williams and finished in front of Paul Pierce for a layup.
Tiago Splitter: Though he only had to play 19 minutes in the game, Splitter scored 8 of his 12 points in the second quarter, where he was a constant issue off the pick-and-roll for the Nets’ frontcourt of Kevin Garnett and Mirza Teletovic.
Marco Belinelli: After shooting 2-of-11 in the Spurs’ last win against the Kings, Belinelli had yet to find a rhythm with the starting unit. Against the Nets however, Belinelli found himself open plenty of times whether from the outside or under the basket on his cuts. He finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists on 4-of-6 shooting to break out of his slump.
Tim Duncan: Watching Kevin Garnett struggle (2 points, 0-of-5 shooting) for 17 minutes at the age of 37 might make some Spurs fans appreciate just how productive Duncan still is at that same age. In the third, Duncan ripped through the Nets’ defense with 9 of his 15 points. Duncan also grabbed 5 rebounds in just 24 minutes.
Manu Ginobili: Ginobili wrapped up December with a hot shooting night from the outside as he made 3-of-5 three pointers on the night. In the third especially, Ginobili score 10 of his 15 points as the Spurs’ lead stretched to 32 points in that quarter.
Patty Mills: Though it wasn’t his best shooting night (5-of-15 shooting) Mills kept the bench unit on the edge with 12 points.
The Spurs’ Bench: The one positive the Nets can take away from the loss was the production of their bench as San Antonio’s bench only outscored Brooklyn’s bench 52-47. The Spurs’ bench was also responsible for 14 of the Spurs’ 27 assists. Every Spurs player who played minutes except Matt Bonner scored in the game, but Bonner did have a highlight block on Mason Plumlee.
Where they stand: With the win, the Spurs improved to 25-7 on the season. They moved to 12-4 at home, they are 18-0 against teams that are .500 or below, and 11-1 against the Eastern Conference. They hold the 4th highest Net Rating in the NBA at +8.2. They’re 4th in offensive rating at 107.0 points per 100 possessions, and their defense ranks 6th in the league at 98.8 points per 100 possessions.
Up Next: The Spurs will host the New York Knicks on Thursday in the AT&T Center.