A broken nose, another possible broken nose, food poisoning, lower back tightness, and rest. These were some of the injuries and reasons the San Antonio Spurs walked in and out of Brooklyn with on Thursday, in a 103-89 loss to the Nets.
Before the game even tipped off, the Spurs would be without Tony Parker who was injured in the first half of the Spurs’ Wednesday night game against the Washington Wizards, with lower back tightness. Then, after playing 40 minutes against the Nets, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest Tim Duncan Thursday. On top of that, Boris Diaw came down with food poisoning so he too would miss Thursday’s game.
The player’s who were left on the Spurs’ active roster weren’t all spared from the injury bug, as Nando De Colo fractured his nose in the second quarter, and needed to wear a mask in the second half. Then Matt Bonner, who was already wearing a mask, might have re-fractured his already broken nose in the second half as well.
With a limited roster, the Spurs did what they could in one half to contend with the Nets as San Antonio built an early 12 point lead. By the time halftime came, the Spurs were only trailing the Nets 40-39. Cory Joseph was pacing the Spurs at half with 11 points, but in the second half, the Nets would start to pull away. With their key role players missing, the Spurs just couldn’t match the offensive scoring output needed to stay at equal level with Brooklyn, as the Nets outscored the Spurs 63-50 in the second half. Patty Mills was the lone Spur with double-digit scoring in the second half with 13 points off the bench.
With a lot of one-on-one attempts, the Spurs did what they could individually, as Joseph led the group with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Danny Green, after playing 46 minutes the night before, also provided 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks while playing the undersized power forward position at certain points in the game. Green also knocked down 3-of-4 three pointers. Marco Belinelli had his moments with 12 points on 4-o-f-6 shooting, and even De Colo returned to the second half after breaking his nose, to finish with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.
In the end though, with the Nets getting a strong outing from Alan Anderson (22 points) and Deron Williams (16 points, 8 assits), it was clear the Spurs’ “system” couldn’t function with key pieces like Parker, Duncan, Diaw, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard missing. The Spurs were only able to assist on 14 of their 29 made baskets, they turned the ball over 17 times, and after having to play a lot of smaller lineups, they got outscored 56-32 in the paint.
Shannon Brown’s missed opportunity?
20:14 minutes, 5 points, 2-of-8 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls – In a game where he was expected to receive his most minutes in a Spurs uniform, Brown was provided the opportunity. Only, his play wasn’t exactly the type that would make one think the Spurs will offer him another 10-day contract. Before looking at some of the negatives, you still have to remember Brown is a player who had no prior knowledge in the Spurs’ system unlike Malcolm Thomas and Othyus Jeffers. Brown still looked lost at times on both sides of the ball, but what really stood out was his questionable shot selection on certain plays. On one play, he caught the ball behind the 3-point line, had a defender near him, and then he just forced a fade-away 3-point shot which missed. On other plays, he would take the ball into the midrange area and miss fade-away jumpers. Brown did make one jumper and he also created an and-1 opportunity by cutting, receiving a pass, and scoring with a layup while being fouled. With his 10-day contract determination date coming up on Monday, it’ll be interesting to see if he can make a case for himself to stay with the Spurs, as their game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday may be his final opportunity. Here's Brown's shot chart on the night.
Where San Antonio Stands
· Regular Season: 36-14
· Road Record: 18-6
· Vs. Opponents with -.500 records: 19-2
· Rodeo Road Trip: 2-1
(All stats used via NBA.com/Stats)