Tim Duncan will sit out Sunday night's game against the Nets. Credit: Getty Images Tim Duncan will sit out Sunday night's game against the Nets.
Credit: Getty Images

In four straight games, the second quarter has not been kind to the Nets. They have been outscored 111-61 while shooting 29.1 percent in that quarter.

The Nets have won twice despite the poor showings in that quarter. That is not good enough for interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who hinted the personnel and substitution patterns might change at that point in the game depending on how things develop.

“We may if we’re going OK,” Carlesimo said before last night’s game with the Spurs. “Maybe we’ll get guys out a little bit earlier for us to be able to have them fresher to get him back in the second, maybe not stretch it out as much and maybe we’ll just look at the group that starts the second and just put them on a shorter leash.

 

“We can’t have four or five [bad] possessions. You hate to do that but I don’t think we’re at the point where we can hope we can play our way out of it.”

In three of the four games, Carlesimo has started the quarter with reserves Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, Andray Blatche, Marshon Brooks and C.J. Watson.

According to the website, www.82games.com, that unit has been outscored by eight points in the times they have played together this season.

On Friday, that group of five reserves allowed the first seven points and missed a pair of 15-foot jump shots. That forced an early timeout and the early returns of starters Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson and by the time the rest of the starting lineup (Deron Williams, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace) returned, the Nets had fallen into a 14-point deficit by committing three turnovers and missing eight straight shots.

Before the second quarter against Chicago, the Nets had put together a 29-19 period against Miami before losing by 20 and a 26-20 period against Orlando in a 20-point win.

“I don’t think we’re playing with the same enthusiasm and confidence that we were [playing with before],” Carlesimo said. “I think that kind of transmits into a lot of different aspects of the game. I think that’s a major issue for us right now.”

No Duncan, No Ginobili

For the third time in five games, the Nets faced an opponent missing two starters as Tim Duncan (sore left knee) and Manu Ginobili (tightness left hamstring) were held out of San Antonio’s starting lineup.

“It’s just about their health,” San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. “We need to have those guys healthy and energetic at the end of the year. We look a whole lot better with them than without them.”

Duncan missed four games with the same injury between Jan. 23-30 and the Spurs went undefeated and averaged 107.2 points while allowing 96.5.

Ginobili has missed three games with his current injury and also sat out four games last month with a Grade 1 left hamstring strain. The Spurs are 8-1 in the games he has missed due to injury.

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.

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