Spurs’ starters make waves before hosting Nets
The San Antonio Spurs have finally been able to ground the team they wanted in recent games and have seen tangible results ahead of their contest with the undermanned Brooklyn Nets at Alamo City on Friday.
The Nets don’t have that luxury – but they do have the services of All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, who has been back with the team for about two weeks but is unable to attend home games because of his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID. 19
The Spurs have won two of their last three games and meet Brooklyn on Wednesday after a dominant 118-96 home win over Oklahoma City. Dejounte Murray amassed a 23-point, 14-assist, 10-rebound triple-double (his eighth of the season) in just three quarters and led an even San Antonio attack.
Doug McDermott added 20 points for the Spurs in the win over The Thunder, with Devin Vassell scoring 19, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl each scoring 13 and Derrick White scoring 11.
San Antonio scored double digits from each of its starters for the second straight game. The Spurs have won 11 of their 18 games this season when their favorite five starters (Murray, McDermott, Poeltl, White and Johnson) have played.
“Any team is better when they have their starting XI, but for us as a young team that hasn’t played together long enough, it’s very nice to have that luxury,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the win over Oklahoma City. “They are all healthy and it’s good to have that number of players. They played well at both sides.
“We were aggressive, solid defense and boards, and I thought we shared pretty well. We had 32 assists, so that’s a good sign.”
McDermott said the team believes they can make a run and win more games in the second half of the season.
“When we had that many bibs out there, I felt like we played really good basketball,” said McDermott. “We beat some really good teams. Unfortunately the virus hit us, but here we are. We still have about half of the way to go and we feel like we can still make a pretty big run here.”
San Antonio should be bolstered by the addition, perhaps on Friday, of Juancho Hernangomez, who was acquired from Boston on Wednesday in a three-team trade that sent Bryn Forbes to Denver.
The Nets travel to San Antonio after a 119-118 win in Washington on Wednesday, where Irving played and scored 30 points in 37 minutes on the court. Brooklyn, who have won two of their last three games, were without Kevin Durant (left knee injury) but held their ground after wasting a 16-point lead.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 27 points from the bench for the Nets, who have had just five wins in their last 12 games. James Harden scored 18 points, Patty Mills had 17 and Day’Ron Sharpe scored 14 points in just 15 minutes of play for Brooklyn in the win.
“We played just enough defensively to get the job done,” said Nets coach Steve Nash. “Offensively we were a bit stagnant – we had trouble getting into action. We isolated a little too much, got a little too predictable. We didn’t play great in the fourth quarter, but we found a way and that gives us a bit of confidence, a bit of determination to lean on.”
Friday’s game is the third of four games for the Nets.
The NBA announced Thursday that Irving was fined $25,000 for interacting with a fan during Monday’s Nets loss in Cleveland.
– Field level media
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