There is no question that 2013 was a time that the Brooklyn Nets want to forget. But maybe the stroke of midnight that started 2014 was exactly what the Nets needed to turn into the new Cinderella team in the NBA.
On December 31st, the Nets lost 113-92 to the San Antonio Spurs and had a record of 10-21. Just barely a double digit win total for a team that was expected to be a contender in the East due to a variety of acquisitions that brought them Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from the Celtics.
But on February 7th the Nets had their rematch with the Spurs and they would cruise to a 103-98 victory. But what may be bigger than beating one of the best teams in the West, is the turnaround that the Nets have been through in just the last month. Since that 10-21 mark in 2013, the Nets have won 12 of their last 15 and now sit at 22-25. Not only have the Nets crawled their way back to an almost .500 record, but now all that separates them between their current seventh seed and the fourth spot in the East, is just two games.
As for the Spurs, 2014 hasn’t been nearly as kind. The team was 25-7 in 2013, but since the New Year they have doubled their loss total for a 36-14 record. Four of those losses have come in the last seven games, for one of their worst streaks of the season.
One reason that the Spurs may have struggled so much on Thursday against Brooklyn certainly had to be the fact that they were missing majority of their team. Tim Duncan was getting a scheduled routine rest, Tony Parker was injured, Boris Diaw had food poisoning, and Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili also sat.
The Spurs recent slide has given the Thunder a 3 ½ game lead over San Antonio for first place in the West. It has also allowed the Trail Blazers to keep pace for that second overall spot as well.
It’s hard to say what was the bigger story in this game. Was it the fact that the Spurs looked pretty bad without some of their biggest stars? Or was it that the Nets were able to continue a red-hot streak that has them primed for a serious playoff push? Either way, both teams will hope to finish out these last few games before the All Star break strong in order to line themselves up real nicely for the second half of the season.
The Spurs sit as 12/1 favorites to win the NBA Championship in May, while the Nets have increased their odds as of late to 40/1.
Flagrant Fouls: None
Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None – TEAMS: SAN ANTONIO (1), BROOKLYN (1) – COACHES: None
Officials: Sean Wright, Haywoode Workman, Bennett Salvatore
Time of Game: 2:25