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Case of the Mondays: Spurs rest stars and still destroy Nets, 112-86

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NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Brooklyn Nets are trying to take a page out of the San Antonio Spurs book. Their first lesson: rest players accordingly. They got a firsthand example as the Spurs rested Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard on Monday night against the Nets.

The Spurs have the luxury of doing so.

The Nets do not, and fans have grown frustrated with ‘the process’. The frustration hit its peak when the team announced that Jeremy Lin would sit out 3-5 weeks with a “re-aggravated hamstring” injury. The team has been extremely silent about Lin’s status through the season, and quite frankly, everybody figured he would be back sooner rather than later. He missed his 32nd game after missing a total of 23 throughout the span of his 6-year career.

There was that, and then Kenny Atkinson announced pre-game that Caris LeVert, one of the main reasons to watch the struggling Nets, would be rested as ‘part of the plan.’

In the land of the Nets, it was a tough day. And then they hadn’t even played the game yet!

Despite all the craziness before the game, and despite resting three of their best players including Pau Gasol, the Spurs (35-9) battered the Brooklyn Nets (9-35), 112-86, at Barclays Center.

Patty Mills led all scorers with 20 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

San Antonio’s offense was good enough, but their stellar defense won them the game. They defended the perimeter well and forced the Nets to 5-of 25 (16.7 percent) shooting from 3-point. Brooklyn's best offensive player, Brook Lopez, was held to just two points in the second half.

Oh, and the Nets were also held to a season-low 86 points. I remind you the Spurs did not have Leonard, Parker, Gasol and Ginobili.

And just to add salt into the wound...

The Spurs are now 25-3 all-time against the Nets.

The Spurs had the Nets locked in a slow-paced first half just the way they wanted. Brooklyn scored only 42 points in the quarter and shot just 2-of-12 from 3-point. The Nets failed to get any offensive rhythm going and as a result, Brook Lopez was the only player in double figures.

San Antonio didn’t play their best offensive half, but given the circumstances; nobody really expected them to. No Leonard, Gasol, Parker or Ginobili. They get a break.

Still, the defense held the Nets to 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting in the second quarter. It was a 52-42 Spurs lead at the halftime break.

As the second half rolled along the Nets began to fall apart. They hit three of their first four shots but turned the ball over four times in the first four minutes. David Lee then nailed an 18-footer and the 10-point deficit increased to 17 and then later 22 entering the fourth.

Brooklyn’s high point of the night was in the first quarter when they held 15-6. From that point on, entering the fourth, the Spurs outscored them 85-54. To make matters worse, the Spurs dropped 39 points in the third and put this one in the win column.

Spencer Dinwiddie was one of the few positives in this one, finishing with 13 points in 32 minutes on 6-of-9 shooting. Isaiah Whitehead led the team with 19 points but dished out only three assists and was a minus-20 on the night.

“For whatever reason, we didn’t come up with the energy,” Atkinson said. “We usually bring that. [On Monday], we didn’t bring it, and I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed for the fans. Our fans are unbelievable, the way they support us. I just ask for patience, and we’ll keep working at it, and we’ll try to get better.”

“We just didn’t come out with a lot of energy like we did playing the last two games,” Whitehead said. “So we’ve just got to refocus and get ready for the next game.”

Nobody said it would be fun. But man, if you wanna talk about a nightmare in Nets Land: Monday, January 23, 2017 was one of many. Just remember: it’s been worse (i.e. 12-70.)

You can check out important pre-game audio from Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson and Gregg Popovich HERE.

Next up: Wednesday, home vs. Miami.