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NETS Can't Quite Come Back on Spurs

February 14th, 2011

NEWARK, N.J.Playing smart and coming through at the end of quarters, the Spurs clobbered the Nets, 102-85, at Prudential Center. Tim Duncan (15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Manu Ginobili (22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) led the Spurs while Brook Lopez (11 points, 10 rebounds) managed a rarefor himdouble-double in defeat.

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NETS Can't Quite Come Back on Spurs
Monday at Prudential Center, the Nets almost made something of a game they shouldve been out of already twice. But both times, they learned a lesson in what an elite team looks like, as the San Antonio Spurs answered runs with big buckets in soul-crushing sequences, beating the Nets, 102-85, for a 46th victory in 55 games.

This is a terrific team we played against, said Nets coach Avery Johnson. They have the best record in the league for a reason. They dont beat themselves. They are pros, they go about their business. Theyre very methodical in their approach. We cant shoot 34 percent and expect to win a game like this against this team.

The Nets first fell far behind in the second quarter, when they scored just two field goals in eight minutes, as a 25-9 run by the Spurs flipped a five-point lead into an 11-point deficit. Guard Jordan Farmar created a three-pointer for Sasha Vujacic, who swished the shot with 5.9 seconds remaining.

Yet Spurs All-Star Tony Parker rocketed coast-to-coast off the inbounds pass, dropping in a layup while being fouled, just 1.5 seconds before the buzzer. His three-point play pushed the lead back to 11, deflating the Nets. Parker finished with 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Its tough, Farmar said. Youve got to get back and create a wall. If he sees that, the only thing he can do is pull up and shoot a jump shot. For him to get coast-to-coast and get a three-point play, that was tough. We made a good play, a good read, got a shot off and cut into the lead. But for him to make a play, that was pretty tough.

The Nets managed to hang around in the third quarter, only allowing 15 points in the first 10 minutes and pulling within six points on an offensive rebound and putback by center Brook Lopez. But the Spurs needed only 12 seconds to free undrafted rookie Gary Neal for a corner three-pointer, one soon followed by two free throws from Manu Ginobili (game-high 22 points) and another triple, this time from George Hill (13 off the bench). The 90-second, 8-0 outburst made the fourth quarter moot; the Nets never closed the gap any closer than 14.

Lopez tied for the team lead with 11 points, pulling down 10 rebounds to tally his second double-double in three games after only registering one in the first 53. But the 7-footer shot only 5-of-16 (contributing to a team-wide .348 mark), and struggled defensively against his NBA idol, Spurs forward Tim Duncan. The perennial All-NBA First Team big man scored 11 points in the first quarter, subjecting Lopez to the full range of postups and backboard bank shots the 22-year-old Net knows well from film.

It was tough, Lopez admitted. I tried to keep him from getting middle, and he spun back a couple times and hit a couple bank shots. I thought they were tough shots, but they were good looks for him; they went down.


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