You can count on Gregg Popovich to give the Spurs a thorough play every game, no matter the context. For once, it was a good night for them as Kyrie Irving joined Kevin Durant on the disabled list with a sore calf. Application, grit and a late game Keldon Johnson mission rewarded San Antonio with a comeback win.
Deprived of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets took some time to find the fuel they needed. It’s time for a great start for the Spurs under Jeremy Sochan and Jakob Poeltl (23-9).
TJ Warren scored six straight points to revive itself at the end of the first period (27-15), and Brooklyn took over by a hair’s breadth. Then 14-3 New Yorkers revived, Ben Simmons dunked and Edmond Sumner accompanied TJ Warren in scoring (31-34).
After a scramble between Jeremy Sochan and Markieff Morris, both teams bounced back from 3-pointers in the first half, but it was Brooklyn again with an 11-2 run, fueled by Cam Thomas (44-49). Two shots from Josh Richardson and Tre Jones (51-51).
The battle remained tight and balanced after the break, even if the balance changed in favor of the “Spurs” at the end of the third quarter, especially thanks to the repeated efforts of Keldon Johnson, the author of 12 points in the period (76-68).
It remains to be seen whether the Texans will continue until the end as the Curry-Thomas-Claxton trio quickly reduced the Nets to -4 (82-78). Well yes! If the Nets believed it for a long time, it was Keldon Johnson who kept the momentum going, especially thanks to Seth Curry and Royce O’Neal’s 3-point shooting. The back posted two big dunks with two 3-point baskets to force the decision (102-94). Despite a little panic at the end, it is enough to win 106-98.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
Confusion between Jeremy Sochan and Markieff Morris. Markieff Morris, at the very least, set a screen against the body of the Spurs rookie as the two players moved into the camera after a basket from Sochan. The latter then grabbed him to accompany him as he fell. The ensuing brawl was quickly quelled by Zach Collins and Stanley Johnson.
Jeremy Sochan inherited Flagrant 1, an additional technique from his personal offense to Markieff Morris. Then things quickly went back to normal, even later in the first Spurs possession, Jeremy Sochan pushed Markieff Morris into a sin-bin, prompting a small extra-camera session to make it 2+1.
To fond memories of Kevin Willis! The former center was honored at halftime with a music video and a gift from the AT&T Center when he appeared on the screens in the room. The opportunity to recall his two years in San Antonio was one of the best since he won his only NBA championship there in 2003. Recall that Kevin Willis is one of the players with the longest career. In the NBA (21 years). He’s in good company in the top 5, along with Vince Carter and Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki.
✅ Keldon Johnson. His best offensive game of the season, a stunning final game that began with 10 straight points before making clutch baskets in the finals to fend off a Nets surge late in the third quarter.
✅⛔️ Jeremy Sochan. The rookie started the game very well and he came out stronger than his clash with Markieff Morris as he was pushed to the foul on the first move that followed. Unfortunately, there was almost nothing behind his 16 points in the first 12 minutes of the first half. On the right track, but the road will be long.
⛔️The awkwardness of networks. It didn’t miss much for Brooklyn to turn the tide again in the end, but going 3-of-23 from 3-pointers in today’s NBA is shooting itself in the foot. If Seth Curry eventually led the slingshot, he also stood out for his awkwardness from afar, at 1/7. Joe Harris, the other designated sniper, returned with 0/3 and Cam Thomas 0/4.
San Antonio (14-31): The Spurs will prepare to host the Clippers this Friday (02:00).
Brooklyn (27-16): The Nets continue their road trip out West this Thursday (4:00 p.m.) with a trip to Phoenix.