Dec 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles the ball as Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44, behind) defends during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
The Brooklyn Nets were manhandled by the Spurs on Saturday night, sinking their record to 6-16. The Nets rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, just one and a half games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Spurs, on the other hand, now move to 19-5, second in the Western Conference.
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Unlike many of the Nets’ games this season, this contest was never in reach. The Spurs got out to a 41-26 lead by the end of the first quarter. Ending the final 2:03 of the first quarter on a 12-0 run, the Spurs had all the momentum heading into the second quarter. It was the Spurs’ highest-scoring quarter of the season.
The Nets didn’t let the Spurs get too far ahead of them, though. Both teams managed 26 points in the second quarter. Yet, this wasn’t good enough for the Nets, who were already down 15 points thanks to their first quarter struggles. Kawhi Leonard led both teams with 20 points in the first half, while Bojan Bogdanovic tallied a team-high 14 points for the Nets in the first half. Heading into halftime down 15, the Nets’ chances in the game were quickly diminishing.
The third quarter was quite similar to the first quarter, with the Spurs handing it to the Nets. The Spurs scored 36 points, double the Nets’ third quarter total of just 18 points. Before the end of the third quarter, Leonard had totaled 30 points, boasting the domination of the Spurs.
In the fourth quarter, the Nets actually managed to outscore the Spurs, but it was far too late. The Nets scored 31 points to the Spurs’ 26 points, making for a final score of 130 to 101. Bogdanovic led the Nets’ with 20 points, while Leonard led all scorers with 30 points.
The 130 points scored by the Spurs marked a season-high for the Spurs in points scored, while the Spurs also set highs in points in a quarter, points in a half, assists, and three-pointers.
Dec 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) shoots the ball over Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Nets Lost This Game Because of Their Defense
The Nets didn’t do much right in this game, but their defensive performance can be blamed for the 29-point margin. Offensively, the Nets managed to score 101 points, a total that coach Kenny Atkinson should be pleased with. However, the Nets allowed 130 points defensively, a total that coach Atkinson should be disgusted with. Again, the Spurs set a season-high in points scored in a quarter, points scored in a half, and total points scored. The Nets should be embarrassed to have allowed the Spurs to set highs in each of these categories.
Leonard scored more points over the course of the game than the Nets scored in any quarter besides the fourth quarter, when the Nets scored one more point than Leonard’s 30-point total. It was absolute destruction on the part of Leonard, who didn’t even touch the floor in the fourth quarter.
Off of the bench, Patty Mills was able to score 16 points in 16 minutes, thanks to the poor defense of the Nets. Mills scored eight of his 16 points in a 59-second period towards the end of the third quarter.
You can simply point to the season-highs in scoring and assisting that the Spurs set when addressing the defensive performance of the Nets. It was a pathetic showing by Brooklyn defensively.
2. Sean Kilpatrick Went Missing In San Antonio
If you have seen Sean Kilpatrick, please let the Nets know because he practically didn’t show up for the Nets’ game against the Spurs.
In 24 minutes of playing time, Kilpatrick was only able to add four points on 16.7 percent shooting, his second-lowest total of the season. Had Kilpatrick contributed elsewhere, maybe his four points wouldn’t be such an abomination…. but that was not the case. He tallied just one rebound and one assist. He was unable to add a steal or a block, but he did commit a turnover.
Hopefully for both Kilpatrick and the Nets, the youngster can get it together, as he has had a breakout season this year, averaging 16.1 points, 2.6 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Dec 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14) defends during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Game:
Bojan Bogdanovic is the only Nets player that should be considered for Player of the Game. He led the team in scoring with 20 points, and he also added four rebounds and four assists. He was 7-of-13 from the field, shooting 54 percent from the field. The cherry on top for Bogdanovic was his control of the basketball. He committed zero turnovers even while playing a team-high 27 minutes. Bogdanovic gave a great effort and easily had the best performance among all Nets players.
While Bogdanovic soundly wins the player of the game award, Luis Scola had his best performance of the season. He scored 15 points while leading the Nets with 11 rebounds. He also added an assist and only committed two turnovers. Doing all of this in just 16 minutes of game play, Scola gets the Wildcard award for this fantastic performance.
Up Your Game Please:
I’m sure this one was obvious. Sean Kilpatrick’s struggles for the Nets are definitely one of the main reasons the Nets never had a chance once the game had begun. He has become one of their top scorers, thus his four-point performance was quite deflating for a team needing a boost against one of the league’s top teams in the Spurs. Kilpatrick needs to have a far better performance on Monday when the Nets take on the Houston Rockets.
With the Nets sitting at 6-16, the playoffs seem to be out of the question, not that they were ever truly a possibility. With a 17-7 Houston Rockets team on deck, the Nets need to bring their A game to Houston if they don’t want to get embarrassed like they did against the Spurs.