Though injuries have plagued the Brooklyn Nets, they could be getting a lot healthier as they try to pick up a rare victory in this series.
Resting Tim Duncan and playing without the injured Tony Parker, the short-handed and possibly fatigued Spurs go for their fourth straight win overall and 22nd in 23 meetings with the Nets on Thursday night.
Parker was unable to return Wednesday after leaving at halftime with tightness in his lower back, but San Antonio (36-13) rallied from a 17-point deficit for a 125-118 double-overtime victory at Washington.
Duncan led the way with 31 points, 11 rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the second overtime, while Danny Green added 22 points, seven boards and five 3-pointers. After logging a season-high 40 minutes, coach Gregg Popovich has opted to rest Duncan.
Parker ended up with four points after scoring 32 in a 102-95 win in New Orleans on Monday to open a nine-game swing that continues after the All-Star break. Popovich said the point guard won't play against the Nets (21-25).
''For these guys, I couldn't be prouder of what they did," said Popovich, whose club won for an NBA-high 16th straight time over the Wizards. "With Kawhi and Manu and Tony not out there, I thought the bench guys really stepped up.''
Patty Mills had 11 of his season-high 23 points in the two overtimes. He also helped pick up the slack with 20 points in a 110-82 over Milwaukee with Parker out due to a right shin contusion Jan. 19.
The Southwest Division leaders haven't had much trouble without the six-time All-Star, winning all four games he's missed this season.
The Spurs, however, also are missing Ginobili (tight left hamstring) and Leonard (broken left hand) as they try to resume their dominance over the Nets. San Antonio has won 21 of the last 22 in this series dating to Game 5 of the 2003 finals.
Despite missing All-Star Joe Johnson (knee tendinitis), Andrei Kirilenko (sore right calf), Brook Lopez (broken foot) and Andray Blatche (hip), the Nets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 108-102 home win over Philadelphia on Monday.
Paul Pierce finished with 25 points, Deron Williams added 21 and Mirza Teletovic had 20 with five 3-pointers. Shaun Livingston stepped up with 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds and seven of Brooklyn's season-high 15 steals.
''I've been on the wings obviously guarding some of the better scorers, but just trying to be active, be disruptive and help my teammates,'' said Livingston, who has averaged 17.7 points on 57.1 percent shooting in his last three games.
The Nets, who had won 10 of 11 before their skid, will try to build on the victory with Johnson, Kirilenko and Blatche expected to return for this matchup.
Johnson, averaging 15.6 points, scored a team-high 19 in a 111-86 loss in the most recent meeting in Brooklyn on Feb. 10, 2013.
Duncan is expected to play at Barclays Center for the first time after missing that contest due to injury. He had 15 points as the Spurs shot 51.3 percent in a 113-92 home win over the Nets on Dec. 31.
After holding a 47-34 edge on the boards in that first matchup, San Antonio may be able to again take advantage of a Brooklyn team that ranks near the bottom of the league with a minus-3.5 rebounding margin.
- Sports & Recreation
- San Antonio Spurs
- Brooklyn Nets
- San Antonio
- Tony Parker
- Manu Ginobili
- Kawhi Leonard
- Tim Duncan