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New year, same old streak for Nets

Brooklyn cruises to 12th straight win, 139-103, over Spurs

January 3, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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A new year produced the same result for the Brooklyn Nets.

Victory!

Brooklyn opened 2023 with a 139-103 triumph over the San Antonio Spurs in front of a sellout crowd of 18,224 at Barclays Center, extending the longest winning streak since the franchise relocated from New Jersey as well as moving the Nets closer to the best run since the team was founded.

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“It’s great seeing that first group set the tone,” said Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn, who has guided Brooklyn to an NBA-best 19-3 record since Nov. 17.

“It’s what we’ve been talking about as a group. No excuses,” he added. “Another great effort from our group to start the year off right.”

Winners of a franchise-best 14 games in a row in both 2004 and 2006, when they were still in the Garden State, the Nets (25-12) didn’t struggle even a bit with the Spurs (12-25), who lost touch with Brooklyn by halftime.

Kyrie Irving scored 27 points and Kevin Durant added 25 as both enjoyed brilliant shooting nights to pace a 62 percent effort from the field by the Nets, who will look to make it 13 in a row Wednesday night in Chicago.

Seth Curry filled in for Royce O’Neale and scored 16 points off the bench Wednesday as the Nets kept their winning streak alive in 2023. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II

“Hopefully we’re going to be a group that it doesn’t matter, whether it’s at home or on the road,” noted Vaughn.

“We show up, we play. That’s who we want to be as a team. Who’s next? Chicago. That’s who we’re preparing for.”

Irving and Durant combined to go a blistering 21-of-28 from the floor. Durant finished with a team-high 11 assists, and neither superstar logged more than 29 minutes of court time

The tandem was hardly needed after Irving’s spectacular one-handed putback dunk with 8:52 remaining in the first half capped a 14-0 run and stretched the Nets’ advantage to 46-27.

“I had the perfect vantage point,” gushed Nets guard Seth Curry, who watched Irving take off from just inside the free-throw line, capture the carom off Yuta Watanabe’s missed 18-footer and stuff it home.

T.J. Warren poured in 18 points off the bench, Curry had 16 and Nic Claxton added 10 for Brooklyn, which hasn’t lost since dropping a 103-92 decision to Boston here on Dec. 4.

Keldon Johnson finished with 22 points and Devin Vassell had 14 for the Spurs, who dropped their second straight ahead of visiting Madison Square Garden on Wednesday to take on the New York Knicks.

Brooklyn posted its largest margin of victory ever against San Antonio, leading from start to finish and finishing with its largest lead of the night at 36 points.

Winners of 16 of 17 overall, the Nets are within one game of the Celtics (26-11) for the best record in the NBA.

They can take aim at that coveted mark and lucky No. 13 in the Windy City Wednesday.

“We’re just having some fun, playing the game we love,” said Irving.

Cam Thomas has a word with Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn during Wednesday’s blowout win over San Antonio. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II

NOTHING BUT NET: After Chicago, the Nets will visit New Orleans on Friday and Miami Sunday before returning to Barclays Jan. 12 for a showdown with Boston. … Joe Harris, who missed the previous four games with left-knee soreness, was back on the hardwood vs. San Antonio, finishing with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting off the bench. “It’s great just to be back. Healthy and feeling good,” said Harris. … Vaughn was a player on the 2006 Nets squad that won 14 in a row. The former Spur also had special words for San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich following Wednesday’s win. “It’s always special, tough to coach against him, just becasuse of the respect that I have for him,” Vaughn said. “I love him. He has meant the world to me, still does. I know how important he is to so many people around the league.”


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