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Nets collapse in second half in loss to Spurs

Brook Lopez is guarded closely by Tiago Splitter

Brook Lopez is guarded closely by Tiago Splitter of the San Antonio Spurs in a game at Barclays Center. (Feb. 10, 2013) Credit: Errol Anderson

They certainly didn't need any subtle reminders, not with the way the Spurs pummeled them by 31 points on the final day of 2012.

Keith Bogans surely didn't forget.

"The Spurs kicked our [butts] last time," he said Sunday night before the Nets hosted San Antonio. "So for me personally, I want to kick their [butts]. I want to do what they did to us down in San Antonio."

Instead, the Spurs partied like it was 2012 all over again.

"They kicked our butts," Reggie Evans said after the Nets' stinging 111-86 loss, their sixth defeat in the past nine games.

What's worse: Despite being without the injured Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs (40-12) ran the Nets (29-22) right out of their billion-dollar building. Outscored 60-29 in the second half, the Nets were cut to pieces by an active Tony Parker, whose 29-point, 11-assist effort had fans booing and scurrying for the Barclays Center exits midway through the fourth quarter.

After building a 12-point advantage early in the second quarter and a 57-51 halftime lead, the Nets were outscored 30-14 in the third quarter and 30-15 in the fourth.

After halftime, the Nets crumbled as if they had taken a blow on a glass jaw. They shot 12-for- 33, including 1-for-9 from three-point range. They had 10 turnovers, leading to 19 easy points, and allowed the Spurs to shoot 14-for-18 from the paint and 7-for-12 from outside the arc.

When the Nets take a punch, there's rarely a good counter.

"I think there's enough fight, but the fight right now is in the wrong direction," Gerald Wallace said. "Everybody is wanting to fight individually instead of pulling together as a team and us fighting as the Brooklyn Nets. We are trying to fight as 15 individual guys on the court, and I don't care who we have, we are not going to win playing individual basketball. We have got to stay together as a team and get back to our principles defensively and continue to help each other out."

Otherwise, it'll be more of the same -- slumped shoulders, pouting and nothing but frustration. It's become a common theme.

"When things start to go bad, instead of fighting back, we kind of hang our heads and do the opposite," said Deron Williams, who struggled with 15 points and three assists and had trouble containing Parker. "So that's just a mentality that we have and we've developed, which is bad. We've got to get better at that.

"Bad habits creep in. It's tough to break them. If we want to be a good team, we have to play better. If they go on a run, we have to try to get some stops, try to break that chain . . . It's almost like we have two different teams and you are guessing which one is going to show up on that given night."

That's a problem the Spurs certainly don't have. There's no identity crisis on their end.

"We should take a look at the other guys over there in San Antonio," Wallace said. "One through 15, all those guys come in, everybody knows their role. It doesn't matter who they have on the court. Their offense looks the same, their defense looks the same regardless of who's playing and who's not playing, and we have to get that mentality that regardless of who's on the court for us or what's going on, our offense and defense have got to be the same for all four quarters, regardless of what's going on on the scoreboard.

"There's going to be nights we don't make shots. There's going to be nights things don't go right. There's going to be nights when other teams don't shoot well. But we've got to continue to stay as a team instead of all pulling apart."

Said Joe Johnson, who paced the Nets with 19 points: "I thought we had pretty much found ouridentity and it seemed like everything was going well. Now it just seems the past few games, we've been in a little funk, and it's unacceptable at home."

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