NEW JERSEY - It may be Valentine's Day but the San Antonio Spurs (46-9) showed no love tonight towards the New Jersey Nets (17-39) as they beat the Nets 102 to 85 at the Prudential Center.
For the most part, the Spurs got the win in the paint dominating the Nets 40 to 28. Tim Duncan was doing most of the damage for the Spurs as he scored 15 points, three blocks, and grabbed 11 boards.
The Spurs' other big man DeJuan Blair pointed to Duncan as the key to the Spurs dominating the Nets in the inside.
"Tim Duncan sparked it off. He played great against a great player (Brook Lopez)."
But it wasn't just the Spurs inside game that got the win tonight. The Spurs held the Nets to 45% shooting (36 of 80) and dominated the boards 50 to 39.
In the second half, the Spurs didn't start off strong as they picked up two quick offensive fouls and Nets' center Lopez was hitting shots at the rim.
But the Spurs went back to what was maintaining their lead by getting it in the middle to Duncan and clamping down on defense as at one point they held the Nets to 32.8% shooting at one point.
"It was tough," said Nets' Brook Lopez on playing Duncan. "I tried to keep him from getting middle, but he spun back a couple of times and had some big shots. They were good looks for him they went down."
It also wasn't just Duncan doing the damage to the Nets on the inside. Spurs' guard Tony Parker was knifing into the lane, getting lay-ups and finished the night with 13 points and seven assists.
Nets' coach Avery Johnson had a lot to say about his former team's performance tonight and Parker.
"They do a good job off of scoring their offensive rebounds. They do a good job at closing out quarters, definitely closing out the halves, and Tony (Parker) is the reason. He's number one on points in the paint for a reason. You saw it tonight, but we just didn't do a good job of getting what we call, two on the ball, getting some support in that situation."
Spurs' coach Popovich was also pleased with the Spurs' focus on the defensive end.
"I was pleased, I thought we focused the entire game. We played with physicality and we played good defense throughout the game."
Manu Ginobili led the way for the Spurs scoring 22 points.
Perhaps Nets' coach Johnson said it best, "We just didn't have much of an inside game tonight."
The Spurs will conclude the Rodeo Road Trip with a visit to Chicago to face the Bulls on Thursday.
- Five Spurs scored in double figures tonight: Duncan with 15, Blair with 10, Manu Ginobili with 22, Tony Parker with 13, George Hill with 13, and Gary Neal with 11.
- The Spurs are now 34-3 when scoring 100+ points and 38-0 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than their opponent.
- The Spurs came into tonight's matchup ranked first in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage at .395. Tonight they shot .438% (7-16) from the three-point line.
- Duncan tallied his team-leading 19th double-double tonight recording 15 points and 11 boards in 26 minutes.
- Nets' Lopez scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.