Home / Sports / Nets hold off defending champions, beat Spurs 95-93 in OT

Nets hold off defending champions, beat Spurs 95-93 in OT

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The Nets had been so listless of late, star point guard Deron Williams was prompted this week to say his team had been playing like zombies.

But in Brooklyn Wednesday night, Gregg Popovich instead saw a team that can be a “monster.”

The Nets stunned the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, 95-93, in overtime, and earned the respect of the usually hard-to-please Popovich. “I think Brooklyn can be a hell of a team,” he said. “As the year goes on, Brooklyn is going to be a monster.”

Despite nearly blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead to hold to win, the Nets showed grit and toughness in finally topping a team with a winning record this season while also snapping the Spurs’ eight-game winning streak.

The Nets looked like the monster Popovich described in going up 14 points, 82-68, with 5:12 left on a three-pointer from Mirza Teletovic and a free throw from Williams (17 points and nine assists).

To straighten out the wayward-shooting Teletovic, coach Lionel Hollins offered this nugget on Wednesday: “He told me, ‘Zip your head back together and start playing,’ ” said Teletovic, who had a season-high 26 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, starting in place of the resting Kevin Garnett. “That’s what he said. He just told me to go back to what I usually do. Eventually they’re going to go in.”

The Nets (8-9) held the Spurs to 35.6% shooting and limited Tim Duncan to 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting. “Earlier in the season, I don’t know if we get back from (blowing that lead),” said Brook Lopez, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds. “We just got to keep working. We can’t rest on our laurels on this.”

But all that scoring and ball movement was undone by the Spurs, who went on a 20-6 run in the final five minutes of regulation to force overtime, hitting four shots from behind the arc, three by Danny Green, who attended high school at nearby St. Mary’s in Manhasset, L.I. Green (20 points on six 3-pointers) hit a corner three to cut the lead to 84-80 with 2:28 left and Manu Ginobili (15 points) followed that up by hitting another three to make it 84-83 with 2:01 left.

But Lopez banked in a 20-foot jumper with 18.1 seconds left from near the free throw line to give the Nets an 86-83 lead off an assist from Williams. “Lionel drew it up,” Lopez said with a laugh. “It looked straight and it banked in. I might have thought the (bank).”

Ginobili hit a layup with 10 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 86-85. Williams was then fouled with 7.2 seconds left. He made both foul shots to put the Nets up 88-85. But Green drilled a three from the top of the key with 2.4 seconds left to tie it at 88-88, igniting the many Spurs fans in attendance. Williams made a 3-pointer for the first basket of overtime and the Nets led the remainder of the extra period, holding on when Ginobili missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left. “It’s good that we won against a winning team,” Williams said. “It’s good that we won against the Spurs. All these things are confidence builders. It shows us what kind of team we can be.” 

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Daily News – Sports

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