SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Even after ending the NBA's longest winning
streak, the San Antonio Spurs got nothing but criticism from their
Tim Duncan scored 27 points, going 13-for-15 from the free throw
line, and the Spurs snapped the New Jersey Nets' 10-game winning
streak with a 96-91 victory Tuesday night.
"Total lack of concentration, lack of effort, lack of
cohesiveness, lack of leadership -- both on the court and from me as
a head coach," Gregg Popovich said in his only postgame statement.
"It was a disgusting performance."
His comments may have been different had the Spurs held onto
their 16-point lead with under 7 minutes to go. They had limited
the league's eighth-leading scorer, Vince Carter, to 19 points
until that point.
Carter then scored 15 points in a 22-13 run, and Scott Padgett's
3-pointer cut the lead to four with 2.8 seconds left. The Spurs
held on by hitting 20 free throws in the last quarter, a franchise
Carter, who came in averaging 25.5 points per game, scored 34 on
11 for 29 shooting. Jason Kidd had 15 points and six assists for
the Nets, who played without the injured Richard Jefferson.
Tony Parker scored 18 points, shooting 8-of-12, and Manu
Ginobili had 16 points for San Antonio.
Both teams did a poor job protecting the ball. The Spurs had 20
turnovers for 16 points, while the Nets had 14 turnovers for 18
points. Still, the Nets believed that had they capitalized on
possessions, the outcome could have been different.
"We couldn't score on the other end," Kidd said. "They made
their free throws while we were struggling on the offensive end.
They just built up a lead that we couldn't come back from. We
didn't quit ... we played hard and gave ourselves a chance."
Carter scored 14 in the first quarter while Parker and Ginobili
combined for 17, giving the Spurs a 27-22 lead. The Spurs built a
lead as high as 11 in the second, helped by 59 percent shooting,
including two 3-pointers from Nick Van Exel.
The Spurs led 49-41 at the half, but the Nets tied the game at
55 with 6:10 to go in the third. The scored would be tied four more
times before the Spurs took a five-point lead on a 7-2 run in the
last two minutes of the third.
But while the Nets are 17-0 when leading after three quarters
this year, they are 1-13 when trailing.
The Spurs remained in control for most of the fourth quarter
until Carter hit a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to cut the lead
to 87-80. Carter was fouled twice while attempting 3-pointers and
made all six free throws.
Still, the Nets were looking to get a few more calls from their
aggressive play down the stretch.
"I thought the effort level was there," said Nets head coach
Lawrence Frank. "We put forth maximum effort. We couldn't get to
the free throw line in the second half until the last minute of the
game. They are obviously a championship team."
Despite the win, the fact that the Nets scored 14 points in 39
seconds will stay with the Spurs for a long time, Bruce Bowen said.
"Right now there is really nothing too gratifying because of
the way it ended and rightfully so," he said. "It wiped out
everything we tried to accomplish tonight."
Sean Marks (ankle sprain) for the Spurs did not play.
Jefferson left Sunday's game at Toronto with back spasms. ... The
Spurs are shooting 47.7 percent from the field, highest in the
league, while holding opponents to a league-low 42.2 percent.