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Nets escape OT thriller with 95-93 victory over the Spurs

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN -- The Brooklyn Nets (7-9) went up against the San Antonio Spurs (13-4), a team the Nets have had consistent problems with over the past decade. Then again, who hasn't? The two teams played back on November 23rd, a game in which the Spurs dumbfounded the Nets with their crisp offensive sets and fluid ball movement. It was, in every sense, a clinic.

After that 99-87 defeat, Deron Williams said, "It is a team you envy. They have a system, the same coach and pretty much the same group of guys for a long time, and you can tell that they are comfortable playing with each other. We haven't had that luxury, and we are trying to get to that eventually."

Like Williams said, consistency is the key word when it comes to the Spurs, and well, the Nets have been consistent in the losing column against San Antonio, having not beaten their Big Three in 12 years. That said, they conquered trend Wednesday night, winning an overtime thriller, 95-93.

The game's end was enough to give even the most loyal fan palpitations.  The Nets were coming off a tight win Tuesday over the Knicks but still without a win over a winning team.  The Spurs were on an eight-game winning streak. Moreover, they were healthy and rested.  Gregg Popovich sat Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in their last game, vs. Philly, two nights ago So, the reigning champs seemed to have every advantage, but the Nets, shall we say, "battled" all game and seemed to save their best for last.

At the 5:12 mark of the fourth quarter, the Nets found their biggest lead of the night at 14. It wasn't very long, though. The Spurs answered with a 15-2 run to cut their deficit to one. Following that, Brook Lopez nailed a top-of-the-key bank shot to put the Nets up three, which was then answered with a Danny Green contested three-pointer with two seconds remaining. Joe Johnson, whose the Nets' go-to guy in clutch situations, missed on a floater as time expired and the game was headed to OT.

In overtime, the Nets were up 95-93 with nine seconds remaining. Manu Ginoboli worked off a hard pick from Tim Duncan and put up a straight away three-pointer, but it missed left and the ball squirmed loose into a Nets victory.

It's the first Nets' win over a team with a winning record in eight tries.

Mirza Teletovic (26 points, 15 rebounds), who started in place of Kevin Garnett, notched a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds at the 3:57 mark of the second quarter. It's the first time all season that a Brooklyn Nets player nabbed a double-double in a single half.

"He was huge" said Deron Williams post-game. "I talked to him after the game and he said he stunk the last two, so he wanted to come out and play good in this one and he did just that. Not only shooting the ball, his rebounding, Brook's rebounding. Those two guys' rebounds were as big as anything we did tonight."

Teletovic also executed his coach's pre-game desires to perfection.

"He told me, 'zip your head back together and go start playing'. That's what he said. He told me to go back to doing what I usually do. Drive more, kick the ball out, share the ball and just let the game come to me."

"The guys' minds are freer," said Hollins, post-game. "We're pulling more together. We're competing more for each other. And I mean everybody made some great plays, great passes, great shots."

"I think Brooklyn can be a helluva team," said Gregg Popovich. "They're buying into coach Hollins' system. He's a hell of a coach and they're figuring it out. As the year goes on Brooklyn is going to be a monster."

The Nets are now 4-2 over the last two weeks, with wins over the Thunder, 76ers, Knicks and the Spurs.

Top Performers for Brooklyn: It was all Mirza Teletovic. He finished the game with a double-double of 26 points, 15 rebounds and one assist on 9-of-13 shooting and 5-of-7 from three. Brook Lopez also finished with a double-double of 16 points, 15 rebounds along with three blocks and three blocks. The 15 rebounds were the most by a Net this season and tied for the second most in Lopez's career and the most he's had in one game since 2009. Moreover, it was his defense on Tim Duncan that stood out the most. Bojan Bogdanovic also chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds, with 12 coming in the third quarter, helping the Nets take a 28-16 advantage in the quarter and played a key role in winning the game.

Top Performers for San Antonio: Danny Green led the way for Spurs scorers with 20 points and 10 rebounds on 7-of-14 overall shooting and 6-of-11 from three. Most notably, it was Green's three that sent the game to overtime with two seconds remaining. Manu Ginoboli also chipped in 15 points, while Tim Duncan put up a stellar stat line of 14 points,17 rebounds and three blocks but shot a poor 5-of-18 from the field.

Stat of the night: The Nets held Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard to just 9-of-34 (26%) shooting, while forcing the Spurs to shoot 35.6% as a whole.

Injury note: Kevin Garnett sat out so to rest. Prior to tip-off, Lionel Hollins said, "it's his choice. it's his body." Garnett is coming off a 13-rebound night in the Nets' 98-93 victory over the Knicks.

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... The Nets defense to start the game was superb. Along with forcing Tim Duncan to shoot just 1-of-8 from the field, they held the Spurs to shoot just 29.6% from the field. With that said, they still couldn't capitalize. They shot 47% from the field and missed on all four of their three-point attempts. Joe Johnson scored six points on 3-of-3 shooting. The slow-paced game was tied up after one, 19-19.

Second quarter ... It was a hot quarter and half for Mirza Teletovic. The Bosnian sharp-shooter, who started in place of Kevin Garnett, finished the half with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of action and 5-of-6 shooting. Teletovic's 10 points in the second quarter was nearly half of the total amount Brooklyn scored in the quarter.

The Nets as a whole couldn't seem to capitalize on the Spurs' 37% shooting from the field. They shot 41.5% from the field and scored 24 of their 40 points inside the paint. For San Antonio, Tim Duncan struggled with his offensive game. He scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds, but shot 3-of-11 from the field.

The score at the half: Spurs 42, Nets 40.

Third quarter ... No more third-quarter blues for the Nets! Well, that's in large part due to the hot play of Bojan Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic. Bogdanovic, who scored just two points in the first quarter, scored 12 points in the third quarter on 4-of-5 shooting. Following two consecutive buckets from Bogdanovic, the Nets found themselves in the midst of a 19-4 run and owning their biggest lead of the night at 13. I remind you, the Nets were doing this all with Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez being held to just 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting.

Behind a stellar 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, the Nets went on to outscore the Spurs 28-14 in the third quarter, and led 68-58 heading into the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter ... The Brooklyn Nets were on a tear and they weren't looking back. Looking for their first win against a team with a winning record, the Nets' grittiness on the defensive side was opening up their chances on the offensive side. Deron Williams knocked down a free throw with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, which gave the Nets their biggest lead of the night at 14.

Still, the Spurs weren't going away. They answered the Nets hot start to the quarter with a 15-2 run of their own, cutting the deficit down to one and carrying all the momentum with two minutes remaining.

With the Nets up one under one minute, Brook Lopez hit a top-of-the-key bank shot with 18 seconds left. The Nets went up one, but the Spurs answered with a layup to trail just one. Then, after a pair of free throws from Deron Williams, Danny Green knocked down a contested three with two seconds remaining to tie the game at 88 apiece. On the next possession, Joe Johnson missed a long floater and the game was headed to overtime. The score was 88-88 heading into overtime.

Overtime ... Every time the Nets looked to be escaping, the Spurs would answer back. The Nets built their lead up to five, but Manu Ginoboli answered with a three and it was once again a two point game with 40 seconds remaining.

With under 20 seconds remaining, Kawhi Leonard missed on a contested floater in the lane. The Nets grabbed the rebound, but proceeded to turn the ball over as the Spurs came with a hard double team at Bojan Bogdanovic. On the next play, Manu Ginoboli barely missed on a contested three that would've won the game. The ball squirmed loose as time was expiring, and a jump ball was called with 0.2 of a second left. The Nets reluctantly escaped with a big victory over the Spurs.

Final score: Nets 95, Spurs 93.

The Brooklyn Nets welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Brooklyn, Friday at 7:30PM.

For more on the San Antonio Spurs, check them out at Pounding The Rock.