Brooklyn Boro

Nets shoot down Spurs in overtime

Brooklyn Beats Reigning NBA Champions, 95-93, at Barclays

December 4, 2014 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mirza Teletovic played his best game as a Net Wednesday night as Brooklyn outlasted defending NBA champion San Antonio in overtime at the Barclays Center. AP photos
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It took them eight games, and an overtime session, but the Brooklyn Nets can finally boast that they’ve beaten a team with a winning record this season.

And it was no small accomplishment against the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Mirza Teletovic, starting in place of Kevin Garnett, poured in a season-best 26 points to go with a career-high 15 rebounds Wednesday night before a crowd of 15,989 at Downtown’s Barclays Center, lifting Brooklyn to a 95-93 OT triumph over San Antonio.

After watching the Nets go 0-7 against winning teams entering the opener of this three-game homestand, the Brooklyn faithful would have been hard-pressed to believe their team could compete with the NBA’s standard for excellence. 

The Spurs (13-5), who came into our fair borough having won a season-high eight in a row, led the Nets from wire-to-wire during a 99-87 victory over Brooklyn on Nov. 22 in San Antonio.

But with Garnett on the bench getting a rest after his 13-rebound performance against the East River rival Knicks on Tuesday night, Teletovic proved to be the Spurs’ undoing.

He hit 9-of-13 shots, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, handed out a couple of assists and didn’t commit a single turnover while logging a season-high 43 minutes in the Nets’ most inspiring victory of the young season.

“I felt comfortable from the start of the game,” Teletovic said. “I think it started [Tuesday against the Knicks]. We all had a different approach. Everyone just had fun.”

At 8-9, the Nets may not be having fun just yet, but they are well ahead of the dismal 10-21 start they got off to last year under Jason Kidd, and can likely build off this stirring win when they host Atlanta on Wednesday and welcome LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers here Monday night, along with Prince William and Princess Kate. 

Teletovic, averaging 11.4 points and 5.6 rebounds through 17 games this season, certainly wasn’t the only Net responsible for this epic win, especially after the Spurs rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to force Brooklyn’s second OT contest of the year. 

Brook Lopez played one of the grittier games of his NBA career, something that had to hearten head coach Lionel Hollins, who has been somewhat critical of the 7-footer’s lack of toughness along the interior.

Lopez scored 16 points, grabbed a season-best 15 boards, blocked two shots and dished out three assists in a team-high 45 minutes.

“We showed a lot of mental toughness,” Hollins noted. “We battled and hung on after playing last night, while they watched our game [against the Knicks] on TV. We could have easily folded when they came back. We were pulling for one another, pulling together. I’m proud of our guys. We did make the plays to win the game.”

Deron Williams had 17 points and nine assists and Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 points for Brooklyn, which improved to 2-0 in December after struggling through a dismal 2-7 stretch to close November, including a painful triple-overtime home loss to Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 19. 

Williams put the Nets ahead to stay by opening the extra session with a 3-pointer and Brooklyn was fortunate that Manu Ginobili misfired on a potential winning shot from beyond the arc with 4.9 seconds to play. 

“We’re getting better as a team,” said Bogdanovic. “We’re much better than we were the first 10 games. We’re sharing the ball much more. There’s a reason why we’re getting better shots. They’re the defending champs, so this was a very big win for us.” 

Very big and very necessary for a team that figures to continue going through some growing pains under its new coach as the New Year approaches.

“I’m trying to learn them and they’re trying to learn me,” Hollins admitted.

 

Nothing But Net: The Nets began December with two victories for the first time since the 1995-96 season. … Brooklyn, which also beat San Antonio here last season, can boast consecutive home victories over the Spurs for the first time since 2002. … With his next steal, F Garnett will have 1,800 for his career, making him only the 16th player in NBA history to reach that plateau and the second active player with that many swipes. …  The Nets won two of their three meetings with the Hawks last season, including a 127-110 win in London on Jan. 16. But Atlanta came to Brooklyn and ended the Nets’ franchise-record 15-game home winning streak with a 93-88 triumph on April 11.


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