NEW YORK — Gregg Popovich couldn’t stomach what he was seeing from his starters, particularly Tony Parker.
He could’ve used an effort like the Brooklyn Nets got from Mirza Teletovic.
Teletovic had a season-high 26 points and a career-best 15 rebounds starting in place of Kevin Garnett, and the Nets snapped the San Antonio Spurs’ eight-game winning streak with a 95-93 overtime victory Dec. 3.
The Nets regrouped in overtime after blowing a 14-point lead in the final 5 minutes of regulation, but Popovich felt the game was lost long before then because of poor play from his first unit.
“They were very sloppy. They didn’t compete as hard as the Nets did, for more of the 48,” the Spurs coach said. “The Nets wanted the game more than our starters did, I think. They might not agree with me, but I don’t really care, because I’m right.”
Parker, who sat out a Dec. 1 victory at Philadelphia with a rib injury, played only 2½ minutes after the third quarter, though Popovich said the former NBA Finals MVP didn’t aggravate the injury.
“Not a bit, just played like … played horrible. At both ends of the court,” Popovich said. “Now if he’s hurting, that’s a good reason to not play well. But if you’re hurting, you’ve got to tell somebody.”
Nets coach Lionel Hollins couldn’t complain about Teletovic, who had missed eight of 10 shots in his last two games. The message from his coach when told he would start?
“He told me, ‘Zip your head back together and start playing,’” Teletovic said.
Danny Green had 20 points, 10 rebounds and the tying 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation for San Antonio, which had little going most of the night and trailed 82-68 with 5 minutes left in regulation. A 15-2 burst gave the Spurs a chance, and they eventually tied it at 88 on Green’s 3-pointer.
Deron Williams made a 3-pointer for the first basket of overtime and the Nets led the remainder of the extra period, holding on when Manu Ginobili missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left.
Tim Duncan had 14 points and 17 rebounds, but shot 5-for-18. Kawhi Leonard was 4 of 16, and Boris Diaw missed all six shots.
“It’s a shame,” Ginobili said. “The truth is that we played bad for a big stretch of the game. We gathered ourselves and had until the last shot to win the game.”
The Spurs looked agitated most of the night, with the way they played and even the way they strategized. Popovich appeared to drop his clipboard to the court in disgust between the third and fourth quarters after one of his assistants was trying to draw up something.
Garnett took the night off after playing 29 minutes Dec. 2 in a victory at New York. This could’ve been the last meeting ever between he and Duncan, the two 38-year-old veterans who are both in the final year of their contracts.
The Spurs hit some holiday season traffic coming from their hotel in Manhattan and didn’t get to their locker room until less than 90 minutes before the start. That might’ve contributed to their sluggish early play, though they overcame it to lead 42-40 at halftime.
The Nets opened the third quarter with a 22-5 spurt to surge to a 62-47 lead. San Antonio managed just one basket, a 3-pointer from Parker, for about 8 ½ minutes to start the half.
(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)