Spurs winning, but Popovich unhappy as Nets hit town
San Antonio is riding a three-game winning streak built on impressive offensive production when it hosts the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday at the AT&T Center.
But the Spurs shouldn't expect rays-of-sunshine accolades from venerable coach Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs have received just the opposite, especially in the minutes following their 126-124 win over hapless Phoenix on Tuesday. Popovich fumed about his team's play and said it was "fortunate to win the game."
"They outplayed us, outcoached us, out-physicaled us, out-executed us," Popovich said. "We had no respect for them or for the game. We didn't play with each other. It was a pathetic performance, and Phoenix got robbed."
The Spurs ultimately was victorious thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper from Rudy Gay and double-figure scoring from seven San Antonio players.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 29 points and 14 rebounds, while Davis Bertans scored 18 and Marco Belinelli added 17. Gay hit for 16 points, Derrick White rolled in 15 and Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes tallied 12 points each for San Antonio.
"It wasn't our best game," said Aldridge, who scored only nine points in the second half, but grabbed 10 rebounds over the last two periods. "We didn't execute well down the stretch, but we've lost some games that we should have won, too. This is one that we kind of dodged a bullet and got a win."
Thursday's game is the third of a four-game homestand that immediately precedes San Antonio's annual Rodeo Road Trip. This year the Spurs will play eight consecutive games away from home while the AT&T Center is being used for the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The Nets head into south Texas on the heels of a 122-117 home win over Chicago that allowed Brooklyn to improve to 11-3 in January, matching a franchise record for wins in the month that was previously reached in 1983, 2002 and 2013.
"As we move toward the All-Star break, everyone's fatigued, but we just found a way," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We found a way tonight -- it wasn't pretty at all. The guys did a good job of closing it out."
D'Angelo Russell led all scorers with 30 points, his ninth 30-point game this season after posting only seven in his first three NBA seasons combined.
Shabazz Napier added 24 points in the win for the Nets, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 18 points, and Joe Harris and DeMarre Carroll tallied 17 and 11 points, respectively, in the victory.
The win was Brooklyn's ninth straight at home and allowed the Nets to match its victory total from all of last season in the team's 52nd game of the season (28-24).
"That's good to hear," Atkinson said. "That says we are ahead of schedule -- so happy about that, happy for our guys, happy for our organization. It's a good accomplishment so far. Obviously, we want more."
This will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season, with San Antonio visiting on Feb. 25.
The Spurs own a 70-21 all-time edge on Brooklyn and have won 41 of the 45 games played in the Alamo City, including 15 straight. Brooklyn has not beaten the Spurs in San Antonio since Jan. 22, 2002.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 30, 2019