Nets shake off slow start to beat shorthanded Spurs
Alan Anderson is not the center of attention often, so as he tried to depart the locker room, Joe Johnson jokingly chided him for leaving.
Anderson had plenty of things to talk about after he scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half, helping the Nets shake off a sluggish start and pull away for a 103-89 victory over the Spurs.
“He’s making a scene, making a scene,” Anderson said to laughs before conducting his postgame interview in the center of the room.
In all seriousness, it was Anderson’s offense that made the biggest scene for the Nets and helped them win for the 12th time in 16 games following a 21-point loss in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve and it still counted as a win even if Tim Duncan rested while Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sat with injuries.
Anderson did not seem like a prime candidate to lead the way offensively as he took a 12-for-33 slump over his last five games into Thursday, including a 1-for-8 showing Monday against Philadelphia. He also began the game Thursday by missing three of his first four shots.
When it was over and the Nets enjoyed their first win over San Antonio since March 29, 2010 and their first 100-point showing against them since Jan. 19, 1998, Anderson talked about his second most productive game of the season..
“I started attacking, [and] stopped settling for the 3 so much,” Anderson said. “I just started attacking and once we started doing that, it started opening up the lane [for] kick outs, penetrating and dishing. Everything started opening up.
“Lately I’ve been settling with just standing at the 3[-point line] and letting it fly. There’s more to my game than just that and I need to help out the team as much as possible and not by standing there and shooting 3s.”
Anderson showed there was more to his game than standing at the 3-point line and hoisting those shots up during one stretch over a span of 3:27 bridging the end of the third quarter and the opening minutes of the fourth.
During that stretch, Anderson scored 11 straight Brooklyn points turning a 66-62 lead into a 77-70 edge. He began that spurt with a 13-footer, followed with a 3-point play, a lay-up and a 17-footer before connecting on another 17-footer.
“I thought it was great,” Kevin Garnett said of Anderson.
“That just shows he’s a veteran guy,” Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd said. “He played around the world and he continues to work on his craft. Tonight we needed him and he stepped up.”
Anderson’s final points of the night seemed to officially seal the win. First he hit a 3-pointer for an 87-77 lead with 7:12 left and then connected on a running six-foot jumper with 2:45 left for a 99-83 edge.
Anderson was not the only productive Net on a night they grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds, and dominated the paint by a 56-32 margin.
Deron Williams shook off a 0-for-4 start and finished with 16 points and eight assists. Paul Pierce was efficient in getting 12 points, while Andray Blatche added 10 points. Garnett had nine rebounds in 18 minutes and Shaun Livingston tied a career-high with four blocks.
The Nets faced the Spurs for the first time since Jan. 22, 1997 without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and began the night sluggishly, missing six of their first nine shots and falling behind by 12 (20-8).
They woke up by holding the Spurs to 15 points in the second quarter and never trailed again after Williams hit a 20-footer with 38 seconds left, putting the Nets ahead 40-39 at halftime.
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.