The San Antonio Spurs Couldn’t Defend the Brooklyn Nets, Lose 139-103

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Keldon Johnson drives against the New York Knicks in the San Antonio Spurs loss.
January 2, 2023, New York, NY: during the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in New York, New York Monday, January 2, 2023. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs)

On Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs went up against the hottest team in the NBA and the game was seemingly over not long after it began. Kyrie Irving didn’t miss a shot in the first 14 minutes, quickly picking up 17 of his game-high 27 points as the Brooklyn Nets routed the Spurs 139-103 inside the Barclays Center. With the win, the Nets (25-12) draw closer to the Boston Celtics atop the Eastern Conference, extending their winning streak to 12 games. San Antonio, on the other hand, drops to 12-25 on the season, the fourth-worst record in the NBA.

Behind Irving, Kevin Durant scored 25 points and led all players with 11 assists, the only double-double between both teams. Jakob Poeltl pulled down 11 rebounds (six offensive) but scored just six points. Keldon Johnson paced the Spurs with 22 points, breaking the 20-point mark for the fourth time in the last five games. It is worth noting that neither team played its starters in the fourth quarter with the game already out of hand. Brooklyn led by 29 points, 108-79, after three frames.

Shot Defense Was Non-Existent for the San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio has been the worst defensive team for the majority of the season, but against the Nets on Monday was something else entirely. Not only did the Brooklyn connect on 62 percent of their shots from the floor, but they shot 55 percent from beyond the arc. Teams had been shooting better than 40 percent from the perimeter all season. The main culprits, of course,  were Irving and Seth Curry who combined for eight of the Nets’ 11 three-pointers. Surprisingly enough, they only outscored the Spurs by nine points from deep, though San Antonio wasn’t nearly as efficient.

Brooklyn deserves a lot of credit for the Spurs’ poor shooting night as they smothered San Antonio defensively. Johnson was the only player they allowed to score more than 15 points, and that was more from drawing fouls than anything. The Nets were aggressive, blocking seven shots and generating 13 steals while also out-rebounding the Spurs on the defensive end 38-28.

Up Next for the San Antonio Spurs

As far as losses go, Monday’s was a pretty ugly one. Fortunately for San Antonio, they won’t have long to sit on it as they get right back to action in New York on Wednesday as they face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks (20-18) certainly don’t have the talent that the Nets do, nor the momentum, but they have a little extra to play for after losing to the Spurs in the Alamo City last Thursday. New York has since won their last two games and got their star guard Jalen Brunson back after he missed a pair of games including the one in San Antonio with a hip injury. He returned to the lineup Monday night to help his team past the Phoenix Suns, scoring 24 points in 39 minutes.

Full box score on NBA.com.

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