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Bats cause first-quarter delay in Brooklyn Nets-San Antonio Spurs game

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Multiple bats invade AT&T Center (1:07)

Multiple bats descend from the rafters onto the court during a break in play at the Brooklyn Nets vs. San Antonio Spurs game. (1:07)

SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs could have used recently retired guard Manu Ginobili to play the role of exterminator again on Thursday when they faced the Brooklyn Nets at the AT&T Center.

With 7:31 left in the opening quarter, officials were forced to stop play when several bats swooped down onto the court, leading support staff from both teams to swing at the flying mammals with towels. One game-day operations staffer even took to the court with a net resembling a pool skimmer to try to contain the situation.

Play was stopped for nearly three minutes, with some fans in the crowd chanting, "Manu, Manu, Manu," in remembrance of the Halloween incident in 2009 when Ginobili swatted a Mexican free-tailed bat out of midair during a win over the Sacramento Kings.

At the time, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich joked that "you would call someone a liar if they told you that story."

Ginobili joked back then: "It's just a mouse with wings. When you can't dunk anymore, you have to find a way to make it into the news. So that's what I did. I grabbed a bat. I didn't think it was a big deal. I'm going to be retiring soon. If anybody has a pest problem ..."

The bats and delay of play Thursday night didn't derail the Spurs, who won 117-114.