SAN ANTONIO - It seemed fitting that the Spurs went with a 1970s theme Saturday night. It feels as if it's been that long since the Nets actually won here in South Texas.
Playing in a place that's been their personal house of horrors, an environment in which they haven't won since 2002, the Nets could do little to reverse those fortunes against San Antonio.
As has been the case in their most recent visits, they fell behind early and were forced to play catch-up, trailing wire-to-wire in a 99-87 loss at AT&T Center that dropped them to 4-38 in this city.
"This is a team you envy because they've had a system, they've had a coach, they've had pretty much the same group of guys for a long time," said Deron Williams, who had 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds. "You can tell they are just comfortable with each other. We haven't had that luxury. We're trying to get to that eventually, and we can just take that away from it."
Tony Parker had 22 points and Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard added 21 each for the Spurs (9-4).
"I said it last year, I said it the year before that -- they just play the right way,'' Williams said. "They play for each other. They don't care who scores the points. It can be anybody's night on any night, and so that's how they play, and that's how we want to play as well."
As the Nets (5-8) lost for the sixth time in their last seven games, fell to 2-5 on the road and wasted Mirza Teletovic's season-high 22 points, some of the same issues that had been cropping up surfaced again.
At the head of the line? That spot would be reserved for Brook Lopez, whose maddeningly inconsistent play continued, making him an observer on the bench for the entire fourth quarter against the Spurs.
The 7-footer had six points and four rebounds in 25:18, marking the second time in the last four games that he's failed to top double digits in scoring. This a night after he posted a double-double.
Lopez was in no mood to talk afterward, grabbing his backpack and blowing past a group of reporters waiting to chat by his locker, offering up only an "all right, guys" as he headed for a back door.
Paired with the struggles of Mason Plumlee, who's been unable to finish at the rim, and with the Nets needing someone to contend with Boris Diaw, it forced Lionel Hollins to go to Jerome Jordan and even the seldom-used Cory Jefferson for meaningful minutes.
"The key to winning basketball games is not caring who scores on your team and just playing to the advantage that you have," Hollins said. "If they have a smaller guy and we throw it in the post, it doesn't necessarily mean that he has to shoot. You just want to draw people. When they have a slower guy, you want to attack, not just score, but also draw help and get somebody a wide-open shot. We're moving in that direction."
Even if it appears to be occurring at a snail's pace.
"People have to understand a little bit that we've had four coaches in three years," Teletovic said. "From the first year [in Brooklyn], we have four guys [still] here. We've had a lot of new players; this year we have a new system. Everybody is adjusting pretty fast to the system.''
"It's tough," Teletovic said. "You have experienced guys, but it still takes time to get to it, and I think once we get to January and February, I think we are going to be one hell of a team and very difficult to beat."