- Fred Carter, NBA 2Night & NBA Matchup Analyst
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SAN ANTONIO -- It was a game full of surprises except for the outcome.
In one of the better played games of the finals, the Nets lost their composure in the last seven minutes of the second half and subsequently lost the NBA Finals. It was a surprising end because the Nets played extremely well throughout the game and had built a double digit lead when the bottom fell out on them and their season.
The Nets did what they wanted to do in this game, they got out on the break with 19 fast break points, limited their turnovers and held Tim Duncan to just 21 points.
But they weren't able to make the key defensive stops and that's what hurt them in the fourth quarter. The Nets allowed the Spurs to make a 19-0 run to end their chances of forcing a Game 7. The Spurs were able to capitalize on a Nets' offense that suddenly lost its way and found different ways to turn the ball over and miss shots.
Most surprising of all was Kenyon Martin's poor performance. Martin -- coming off a Game 5 performance where he was stricken with flu-like symptoms -- was non-existent and hurt his team with his performance. He was 3-for-23 from the field with only six points and no free-throw attempts. He was a ghost on the court and wasn't his normal aggressive self. He did a terrible job of keeping David Robinson and Duncan off of the boards and allowed them to collect 37 rebounds between them. And during the pivotal fourth quarter he was 0-for-5 with five rebounds. Not hardly the type of numbers you'd expect from someone who is so vital to the Nets. But when they needed him most his game was nowhere to be found.
Congratulations to the Spurs! I trashed them all year and questioned their heart, mental toughness and courage. I was proven wrong and owe them an apology and congratulations.
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com