Nets continue to struggle in San Antonio, lose to Spurs

By on November 23, 2014

Joe Johnson can only muster 12 points during Brooklyn’s loss.D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images Joe Johnson can only muster 12 points during Brooklyn’s loss.

SAN ANTONIO – This wasn’t a replay of the last two years, just another beatdown inflicted upon the Nets by a better team.

Brooklyn was briefly competitive Saturday night in a 99-87 loss to the defending champs. There were a couple of fleeting moments of hope in the third quarter and fourth quarters – courtesy of Mirza Teletovic and Deron Williams – when they cut the deficit to single digits.

So it wasn’t as bad as last year, when the Nets were defeated so soundly in San Antonio that many players left the court before the final buzzer. Or, maybe it wasn’t as much of an embarrassment as two years ago with P.J. Carlesimo on the sideline of the AT&T Center, when the Nets lost the third quarter by 25 points.

But the Nets are still winless in this place during the regular season, an 0-12 record that Saturday night was personified by the struggling Joe Johnson.

The Nets forward missed 11 of his 16 field goal attempts in 34 minutes, finishing with 12 points. Over the last four games, he’s averaging 11 points on 36 percent shooting.

On the other side, Tim Duncan flirted in the first half with a quadruple-double, but the 38-year-old sat for most of the second half and finished with seven points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks.

Tony Parker leads the Spurs past the Nets with 22 points and seven assists.Soobum Im/USA Today Sports Tony Parker leads the Spurs past the Nets with 22 points and seven assists.

Tony Parker again feasted on the Nets’ defense – another yearly tradition – scoring 22 points with seven assists. Kawhi Leonard added nine rebounds and 21 points, including eight during a 12-4 late run that sealed the game.

Williams paced the Nets with 24 points and seven assists, but received negative help from Johnson and Brook Lopez (six points, four rebounds).

Lopez was again benched for entire fourth quarter by Lionel Hollins in the wire-to-wire defeat, as the Nets lost for the 21st time in their last 23 games against the Spurs.

Kevin Garnett sat on the bench in street clothes, choosing the second game of a back-to-back to take a break. He was replaced in the lineup by Teletovic, who dropped in 22 points with eight rebounds.

It was a third straight strong performance by Teletovic, an increase in production that Hollins said was precipitated by a one-on-one meeting.

Kawhi Leonard scores eight points during a late 12-4 run for the Spurs.Soobum Im/USA Today Sports Kawhi Leonard scores eight points during a late 12-4 run for the Spurs.

“He’s played well. We had a conversation about a week ago, and he has since played well. His shot selection is much better, his defense is much better, his rebounding. (Friday) night he played extremely well.

“Just be better (was the message),” Hollins added. “What’s wrong? How can we help you? We need everybody.”

Part of the advice was to drive into the paint rather than always hoisting from long range.

“I don’t want him to take a three with a defender draped all over him,” Hollins said. “If he can drive by him, drive by him. If we have a pick-and-roll and you can roll, take a layup. It’s just basketball. Not be one-dimensional.”

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