by Brett Weisband | @weisband
Nets (22-25) 103, Spurs (36-14) 89
San Antonio came out sharp despite missing five players, all of whom could start anywhere in the League. It took a while, but that reality finally set in as the Nets overpowered San Antonio in the second half. Alan Anderson came off the bench to pace the Nets with 22 points on 9-15 shooting, while Deron Williams had 16 points and eight assists. After playing a double-OT game against Washington on Wednesday, the Spurs gave Tim Duncan the night off to rest, while Boris Diaw sat with an illness. Tony Parker tweaked his back in D.C., sending him to the bench along with the already injured Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard.
As often happens when going against a short-handed squad, Brooklyn came out totally flat, falling behind by 12 points within the first five minutes of the game before showing any life. Eventually, the offense found its stride, working up from a 3-10 start from the field to finish the game at 49.5 percent. The Spurs had several bursts of scoring to keep the game respectable in the second half, but just didn’t have enough to generate any real offense. Cory Joseph led San Antonio in scoring with 18 points, Danny Green had 17 and hit three 3-pointers, and Patty Mills had 16 off the bench. All three took turns carrying the sad Spurs offense, which shot under 40 percent on the night. San Antonio, now 2-1 on their nine-game Rodeo Road Trip, suffered more injuries during the game, as Nando de Colo broke his nose, while Matt Bonner may have re-broken his already busted schnoz.
Warriors (30-20) 102, Bulls (24-25) 87
After falling behind early, the short-handed Warriors looked like they were going to stay stuck in their shooting slump. Playing without their starting frontcourt of David Lee and Andrew Bogut, they turned it around pretty quickly and pulled away from the Bulls late. Stephen Curry went off on a few shooting sprees, finishing with 34 points on 13-19 shooting, including hitting 4-6 3-pointers, while handing out nine assists. Klay Thompson shot his way out of a deep freeze, hitting 8-16 shots and knocking down three triples on his way to 22 points.
The Bulls came out and blitzed the Warriors with some uncharacteristic hot shooting. They jumped out to a 26-13 lead, with D.J. Augustin (10 points) and Kirk Hinrich (15 points) combining to hit all seven of their shots in the first quarter. Despite shooting 60 percent in the first quarter and over 50 percent in the first half, the Bulls allowed the Warriors to close the gap and go up by four points by halftime. That was mostly due to Curry’s hot shooting, pulling up from anywhere he felt like and dropping in an array of pretty floaters, and a slew of Bulls turnovers (10 in the first half, 15 overall).
The game stayed close during the third quarter and Chicago held the lead as late as three and a half minutes into the third quarter; Golden State didn’t open a double-digit lead until midway through the fourth. But Chicago couldn’t keep up as Golden State found their stroke and the Bulls’ disappeared. After their hot start, Chicago finished the game shooting just 41.6 percent. The Bulls got a career-high 26 points from Taj Gibson, along with 13 rebounds, while Joakim Noah had seven points, 10 rebounds and a career-best 11 assists. Jordan Crawford and Harrison Barnes each netted 11 off the bench for the Dubs, who had lost five of their previous seven home games.