San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets Pick & Prediction MARCH 17th 2024

The Brooklyn Nets will look to make some headway in their attempt to move into a spot in the NBA postseason when they square off against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

The game is the second of a two-game stint in the Texas capital for the Spurs as a part of their annual regional outreach initiative. San Antonio dropped the first contest of the set in Austin to the Denver Nuggets on Friday and will carry a three-game losing streak into play against the Nets on Sunday.

Brooklyn (26-41) heads to Texas for the second half of a road back-to-back after a 121-100 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. Cam Thomas paced the Nets with 22 points while Cameron Johnson scored 14, Dennis Schroder had 13 points, and Dorian-Finney Smith and Trendon Watford added 12 points each in the loss — the second straight and fourth in the past five game for Brooklyn.

The Nets led for most of the first half on Saturday before Indiana rallied to the front to take a 59-57 lead. Brooklyn trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter and by 27 late in the game.

The Nets are 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference standings and a place in the play-in tournament with 15 games to play, making a win against the hapless Spurs (14-53, last in the West) imperative.

Schroder has been a difference maker since being acquired from the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline. In 16 games with the Nets, he is averaging 14.4 points and 5.6 assists in 30.2 minutes per game while making 48.1 percent of his 3-point shots attempts, well above his career average of 34.2 percent.

“Dennis’ court-mapping and how he’s manipulating the defense is great,” Nets interim coach Kevin Ollie said. “Him being an extension of me on the court, because I can’t play, and him understanding what I want and him out there transferring it is great for our offense and defense.”

The Spurs fell to the Nuggets 117-106 in their most recent game, surrendering a 15-6 fourth quarter run to West-leading Denver that put them in a 17-point hole after a comeback in the third period.

San Antonio got a team-high 19 points from Jeremy Sochan in the loss, while Devin Vassell and rookie Victor Wembanyama scored 17 points each, Zach Collins had 13 and Julian Champagnie tallied 10 points in the loss.

“If you get to play against the championship team like Denver, you see what it takes (to be successful),” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the loss. “Some things we can’t match right now with the young team, but you see what it takes as far as consistency. We had the effort that makes us proud of how we played.”

San Antonio has to win seven of its final 15 games to avoid matching the team’s worst ever full regular season finish of 20-62 that was set in 1997.

“No one wants to lose this many games,” Collins said. “We definitely saw this year going different, but here we are. There’s no choice but to keep pushing and keep trying to get better. Losing this much hurts, and we’re not trying to get used to it.”

Brooklyn won the first game between the teams this season, beating the Spurs 123-103 on Feb. 10 in New York.

–Field Level Media

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