Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Wednesday, November 12th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 21st

Nets 76

(21-19, 9-11 away)

Spurs 99


    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, January 21, 2004

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 19 28 17 1276
    SA 20 26 25 2899

    Top Performers

    NJ: K. Kittles 30 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    SA: T. Duncan 21 Pts, 17 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Nesterovic sparks Spurs in second half

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Rasho Nesterovic followed San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's halftime orders perfectly.

    Nesterovic scored 14 of his 16 points and blocked three shots in the second half to help the Spurs beat New Jersey 99-76 on Wednesday night in a rematch of the NBA Finals.

    "We had a special message for him at halftime," Popovich said. "He came out in the second half and played more physical, more aggressive. He played like it mattered instead of going through the motions."

    The Spurs, who built a small cushion after trailing most of the first half, outscored New Jersey 28-12 in the fourth in the Nets' first appearance at the SBC Center since they lost the decisive sixth game of the championship series in June.

    The loss was New Jersey's fourth in a row.

    "It happens in this league -- got to get out and cut our mistakes," said Nets forward Kenyon Martin, whose team shot only 11-for-39 (28.2 percent) in the second half. "We got ourselves out of it before, we'll get ourselves out of it again."

    New Jersey coach Byron Scott had little to say about the news Wednesday that the team's owners have agreed to sell club to a group that wants to move it to Brooklyn.

    "That's fantastic," he said. "But right now I've got other things on my mind than who's taking over this team as far as ownership is concerned."

    Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 21 points and 17 rebounds, and Hedo Turkoglu had a season-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

    Bruce Bowen added 15 for the Spurs, who made 21 of their 38 shots in the second half, and Tony Parker had 11.

    Parker said he's also been hearing from Popovich, who said last week that his team's erratic play this month is a result of him not demanding enough from the players.

    "Pop just got after me to get me going, and it works," he said. "That's how our relationship is."

    Nesterovic scored five of his points on free throws late in the game, when the Nets intentionally fouled the Spurs on four successive possessions. San Antonio, which has struggled from the line all season, made six of the eight fouls shots and the fouling stopped.

    San Antonio had 52 points in the paint, while its defense allowed New Jersey only 18 points inside.

    The Nets came out shooting from the outside from the start, and in the first half, it worked for them.

    Kerry Kittles set his season high with 24 points in the half on 10-for-13 shooting, including four 3-pointers. But Bowen tightened his defense on Kittles after the break, limiting him to six points in the final two periods.

    "It always feels good to have the hot hand like that," said Kittles of his first-half output. "They made some adjustments in the second half ... You can't expect to get open looks like that against a good defensive team like the Spurs."

    Jason Kidd had 21 points for the Nets, who scored only 29 points in the second half.

    A 15-4 run by the Spurs late in the opening period gave them an 18-12 lead. Kittles then made the first of his four 3-pointers of the half and the Nets pulled to 20-19 after one.

    Kittles made three of New Jersey's four baskets during a 9-2 burst that put the Nets up, 28-22, with 10:20 left in the half.

    Bowen's 13-foot baseline jumper evened the score at 28 about two minutes later, but a 3-pointer by Kidd broke the tie at 7:29 and New Jersey led until the break.

    In the third, Turkoglu made a pair of 3-pointers and Nesterovic had a dunk and a 16-footer as the Spurs got their lead to 69-60 late in the period.

    Game notes

    Malik Rose, who twisted his left ankle Monday night in a loss in Detroit, was not in uniform for the Spurs. ... San Antonio is 11-1 at home against Eastern Conference teams this season. The only loss came to Philadelphia on Jan. 3 . ... The Nets lost in Dallas, 106-93, on Tuesday night. ... Kittles' previous high for the season was 23 against Indiana on Nov. 6.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 99
    FGM-FGA 29-78 (.372) 39-81 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 7-15 (.467) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 11-16 (.688) 16-25 (.640)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-38 13-49
    Assists 20 21
    Turnovers 15 12
    Steals 7 6
    Blocks 4 7
    Fast Break Points 5 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 17 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    San Antonio
    Kerry Kittles Kittles
    Points: 30
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 21
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1