Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/31/12
SAN ANTONIO --The San Antonio Spurs wanted to close out the year the best way they could, with a win and some rest. Their third-quarter performance, outscoring the Brooklyn Nets 30-5, did just that. Tony Parker scored 20 points and Tim Duncan added 15 as the Spurs extended their win streak to six with a 104-73 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at AT&T Center. The Spurs (25-8) have won five of their last six on their homecourt and have their longest overall winning streak of the season. They have been averaging 112.2 points during that streak, while shooting 52 percent. They kept their momentum going when they blasted open the game with the big third quarter. They opened the quarter on a 21-2 run and went 13-for-19 from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the 3-point line. By the time guard Nando De Colo's 23-foot jumper rolled in with no time on the clock, the Spurs had built a 33-point lead. "I thought Tony (Parker) set the tone for us," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "I thought he played fantastic and everybody followed suit. We shot the ball pretty well. We had a lot of guys that played well. We just had a good night." They also had four other players in double figures: De Colo had 11, while Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner all had 10. The Spurs dominated on many levels and got 56 of their 104 points inside the paint. They turned 18 Nets turnovers into 28 points and kept the pressure on in the fourth, even though Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili sat the whole quarter. All 12 Spurs players who played scored. "We tried to make an effort defensively and coach Popovich has been talking a lot about that and it has been a huge improvement for us the last two games," said Parker. "Defense has been great and we are right on track." More than anything, it was the Spurs' third-quarter defense that made the Nets' last night in 2012 miserable. San Antonio held them to 2-for-20 from the field, forced seven turnovers and allowed them to put just five points on the scoreboard in the quarter. That was a record low for a Spurs opponent in the third quarter. "That has to be our worst third quarter," said Deron Williams. "I didn't even know we only scored five points until I looked at the box score. It was a bad quarter all around, offense and defense. We couldn't put the ball in the basket. We couldn't get stops. We turned the ball over a lot in that quarter. It was just a horrible quarter." The loss snapped a two-game win streak under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who took over for Avery Johnson after he was fired Thursday. The Nets fell to 16-15. MarShon Brooks led the Nets with 16 points. Joe Johnson added 12 and Brook Lopez scored 11, but both were held scoreless in the second half. Williams, who hit a 3-pointer on his first shot, ended with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting. San Antonio came out hot in first half, shooting 65 percent from the field to go ahead 55-47. Parker led San Antonio with 15 points first-half points. The Nets kept it close behind the play of Lopez and Johnson, who were 9-of-18 in the first half. "We said today that this is always a good litmus test," said Carlesimo on playing the Spurs. "We have a lot of things we need to work at. Tonight the offense in the third quarter was abominable. It was just a very poor performance defensively the entire night. But it was the offense in the third quarter that just took us completely out of the game." NOTES: Carlesimo spent five years (2002-2007) as an assistant under Popovich, and the two remain good friends. Three of those years the Spurs were NBA champions. ... The last time the Nets won in San Antonio was on Jan. 22, 2002. ... The Nets had improved their play defensively, not allowing an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent in 12 games until the Spurs hit 58.9 percent. ... San Antonio is 13-2 at home and has not lost since Nov. 19.
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