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Depleted Spurs hand Nets third straight loss, 100-95

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NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Brooklyn Nets are the biggest tease in the NBA.

With the Spurs missing Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, and Manu Ginobili, one might have thought the Nets had a legitimate chance to break their four-game losing streak at home. Instead, the Spurs defeated the Nets, 100-95, handing the Nets their sixth loss in the last seven games.

LaMarcus Aldridge put San Antonio on his back and finished with 34 points and eight rebounds. Add him to the list of skilled bigs that have destroyed the Nets this season.

The Nets are now 16-29 on the season with their next game against Miami on Friday.

“They’re a great ball club and they had probably a little bit more intensity than we did and they made plays and we didn’t, you know quite simply,” Spencer Dinwiddie said after the game. “That’s why the Spurs are the Spurs.”

They played well in the first half, but the Spurs forced them to shoot 1-of-7 from deep in the second quarter after shooting 4-of-8 in the first quarter. Between adjustments and five three-pointers from Patty Mills, the Spurs led by five at half.

Then, it started to look like a typical Nets game. They let up a bit, with Aldridge leading the Spurs on a 10-0 run, extending their lead to 17; 12 by the end of the third quarter.

And so, it was another game where the Nets had to pull off an improbable comeback in the fourth quarter. And again, they came back ... and lost.

They fought and got it within six; and then five; and then four. Suddenly, this was a three-point game with two minutes remaining. The Nets had chances, but failed to hit the big shot. Aldridge made them pay time and again and with an and-one, his Spurs went up by six with 53 seconds left.

In his 100th career game, Caris LeVert finished with 13 points, two rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes.

Joe Harris hit four three-pointers and chipped in 18 points off the bench, while Allen Crabbe scored a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie’s shooting woes continued. Teams are beginning to pick him up before he gets to the 3-point line, which forces him to move the ball earlier. From there, they basically faceguard him. Without his scoring load, the Nets find themselves in trouble. In the post game, Mike Fratello of YES said he thinks Dinwiddie is losing confidence and letting individual plays get to him.

Over the last three games, Dinwiddie shot just 9-of-43 (21 percent) from the field and 2-of-19 from beyond the arc. Tonight, he was 3-of-13 from the field with nine points and 13 assists.

For San Antonio, Mills chipped in an easy 25 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Along with Aldridge, he led the Spurs to a 47 percent night from three-point land.

“I told the guys. I feel like we’re getting close. This is San Antonio, Toronto, and Boston, these are elite teams in our league and there are no moral victories. But I do think they’re encouraged, we’re improving and getting better,” said Kenny Atkinson about the close losses.

“I give credit to the Nets,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “They had a tough time making some shots down the stretch, but overall their execution, I thought, was better than ours. Brooklyn’s attack to the rim, finding open people I thought was spectacular. We came out with a win we’re thrilled about because overall I think Brooklyn did a great job.”

He said much more before the game.

POP PRAISES MARKS, NETS

It’s always a treat listening to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich speak on basically anything, but when he talks about the Nets it’s like a party around here. This is what he had to say prior to Monday’s game.

“With each week, month and year that goes by, the Nets will be closer to being where every team wants to be, and that’s competing in the playoffs. You can tell the decisions he’s made, you can tell by Kenny [Atkinson] demanding and being fair at the same time – working with these young kids. It’s going in the right direction.”

You can read more here.

NETS GRANTED DISABLED PLAYER EXCEPTION FOR LIN

They have until March 10 to use the $6 million in a trade or free agent signing. They can also use it to claim a player off waivers. But there are a lot of restrictions on how they can use it.

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That’s three straight losses for the guys in black and white (from Brooklyn). At least D’Angelo Russell is coming back soon... we think.

For a different perspective, head on over to Pounding the Rock.