EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Potentially good news for the Brooklyn Nets ...
San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (knee/ankle) and guard Manu Ginobili (hamstring) are both doubtful for Sunday night’s game. Duncan has sat out seven of the last nine games, while Ginobili has missed three in a row.
Then again ...
The Spurs are 17-1 against the Nets over the last 10 seasons (2003-04 to date), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That’s the best record for any NBA team against a particular opponent during that span.
“If I had to guess, I’d guess Timmy’s not gonna play,” said Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, a former assistant in San Antonio. “It depends how hard Timmy tries to persuade (Greg Popovich) and how many days Pop wants to keep him out.”
The Spurs (39-12), who have the NBA’s best record, had won 11 in a row prior to a loss to the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
According to Elias, they are 7-6 in regular-season games without Duncan and Ginobili since 2002-03.
The last time the two teams played, on New Year’s Eve in San Antonio, the Nets scored a franchise-low five points in the third quarter and lost 104-73.
• Following Brooklyn’s 89-74 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, Carlesimo was adamant about changing the team’s rotation. He followed that up Sunday by saying the Nets need to sub their starters quicker and tighten up the rotation a bit.
Brooklyn has been outscored 111-61 in its last four second quarters.
Carlesimo says the only reserve he feels like he hasn’t seen enough of is Mirza Teletovic, who could see increased playing time, assuming the Spurs go smaller with Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner in the likely event that Duncan doesn’t play.
• Joe Johnson is averaging just 13.4 points on 37.1 percent shooting in his last eight games.
Johnson’s struggles can be attributed to several things: constant double-teams, facing better defenses, other guys’ numbers being down and fatigue.
Carlesimo figures it’ll be nice for Johnson to get some downtime during the All-Star break.
• According to Elias, Deron Williams has made only 29 percent (31-for-107) of his field goal attempts in the fourth quarter of games this season. No other player this season is making less than 30 percent of his field goals in any quarter (minimum: 100 FGA).