Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Brooklyn Nets [Print without images]

Sunday, February 10, 2013
W2W4: Nets vs. Spurs

By Mike Mazzeo

It felt like the Brooklyn Nets’ season hit rock bottom the last time they faced the San Antonio Spurs. On New Year’s Eve, the Nets scored a franchise-low five third-quarter points and lost 104-73. The two teams will meet again on Sunday night at Barclays Center. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

PLAYING BETTER: The Nets are 3-5 in their past eight games, averaging 88.5 points and 15.9 turnovers over that stretch. Brooklyn is in desperate need of playing a consistent 48-minute game. Lucky for the Nets, the Spurs are likely to be without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who are both doubtful. Still, San Antonio, which owns an NBA-best 39-12 record, has fared just fine without them, winning 11 of 12. By no means is this game going to be an easy out.

HISTORY SAYS: The Spurs will win this one. San Antonio is 17-1 against Brooklyn over the oast 10 seasons, the best record of any NBA team versus a particular opponent over that span. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Spurs are 7-6 in regular-season games since 2002-03 without Duncan and Ginobili. Tony Parker is averaging 27 points and 8.3 assists in those games.

SECOND-QUARTER WOES: The Nets have been outscored 111-61 combined in the second quarter of their past four games. Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said he plans to tweak his rotation in order to avoid these second-quarter collapses. Look for Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez to sit earlier in the first quarter so they can come back earlier in the second.