Nets fall to San Antonio

February 10, 2009 10:01:06 PM PST
The San Antonio Spurs suddenly have a fifth option. As if Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Roger Mason weren't enough, now it's time to add Matt Bonner.

Bonner scored 13 of his 22 points in the opening 5 minutes of the third quarter to help break the game open and the Spurs posted a 108-93 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday night, beating the Nets for the 13th straight time.

"Matty has been playing great," said Duncan, who again led San Antonio with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. "He is on a great shooting streak. He is playing great, making the right decisions, and again shot the ball great tonight and really opened up the floor for us."

Bonner, who had his second best game as a pro Sunday by scoring 23 against Boston, was just as good against the Nets, going 8-for-10 from the field in helping San Antonio win for the 15th time in 19 games since the start of 2009. He was at his best in the opening minutes of the third quarter, hitting his first four shots, including three 3-pointers, in transforming a 54-51 halftime lead into a 73-59 edge.

"It's funny," said Bonner, who was 10-for-17 in the win over the Celtics in Boston. "I don't feel like I'm in a groove. I've just been doing what I always do, shoot when I'm open. The shots have been going in and shots have been feeling good."

Bonner, who came into the game second in the league in 3-point percentage at .490, also has been the beneficiary of team's doubling Duncan inside. The 11-time All Star had 19 first-half points and the Nets packed things inside at the start of the third quarter.

"It makes us tough to guard," said Bonner, who admitted this might be his best shooting stretch since high school. "If they double Timmy on the post, they have to deal with guys who can step up and make open shots."

Parker added 20 points and Bruce Bowen came off the bench in the third quarter to help cool off a hot Vince Carter, who led the Nets with 25 points.

Devin Harris added 21 points for New Jersey, which lost its second straight game after winning a season-high four straight.

Brook Lopez added 18 points.

Duncan dominated the game inside against Nets rookie center Lopez, hitting 11 of 17 shots from the field and clogging the middle of the Spurs' defense with four blocks.

New Jersey never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

Bowen was a big key with his defense. Carter scored 15 of his 17 first-half points in the second quarter in rallying the Nets, and he made his first two shots in the third quarter.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich then inserted Bowen and he basically limited Carter to four points the rest of the way.

"I'm out there to try to be as big a nuisance as I can be against him," Bowen said. "When I go in, I understand I am going to guard him and I will do my best and let the chips fall where they may."

Carter said the Spurs did a good job of doubling him on the outside and funneling him toward Duncan when he went down the lane.

"I tried to move the ball, get guys open and soften them up. It didn't work," Carter said.

Carter, who missed his first game of the season Sunday night with a sore elbow, took a quarter to get back on track in his return. However, he single-handedly led the Nets back from a 10-point deficit by scoring nine straight points for New Jersey in one stretch.

Mason added 14 points for the Spurs, who were 8-of-18 from 3-point range.

Notes: Carter got a technical foul in the first quarter for complaining to referee Dick Bavetta after a non-call. ... Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers attended the game. ... San Antonio has now won 32 straight games in which it scores more than 100 points.