SAN ANTONIO — ‘Twas the day after Christmas, and the Nets were scheduled to play in San Antonio after flying home from Brooklyn early on Christmas Eve and then boarding another outbound flight on Christmas night. Some Nets were permitted to stay in Indianapolis after Saturday night’s game then go to visit their families on Sunday before heading to San Antonio on Monday night.
The possibility of fatigue being a major factor against the Spurs was very real. “These games are strange,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We value guys going to see their families at a special time of year, and we also trust them in terms of preparing and taking care of their bodies. But these games are always a little strange. We did get a good shootaround [Tuesday] morning. We could do a little more than normal because guys had two days off.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked a non-basketball question before the game, and he rose to the occasion when asked why he believes charitable giving is important. “Because we’re rich as hell, and we don’t need it all,” Popovich said. “Other people need it. And you’re an [expletive] if you don’t give it. Pretty simple.”
Popovich allowed his political bent to creep into another answer about what the Spurs have done to successfully cope with injuries to key players. “It’s basketball,” Popovich said. “It’s not the Middle East peace process. It’s not figuring out why our democracy is being eroded. It’s pick-and-roll, big deal.”
Atkinson was excited to have Milton Doyle, who recently signed a two-way contract, along for the remaining four games of the trip. “Part of it is there could be an opportunity to play, and we want to get to know him better,” Atkinson said of the Long Island Nets shooting guard. “The guy was playing fantastic in the G League, I mean really playing well. I think its merited.”