The San Antonio Spurs look to continue their winning ways despite being short-handed and with changing rotations when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Monday in the first of a back-to-back against teams from New York City.
San Antonio will battle the Knicks on Tuesday to complete the two-games-in-two-nights set.
The Spurs have won three of their past four games, including a 117-114 victory over New Orleans on Saturday as DeMar DeRozan returned from personal leave, scored 32 points and matched a season high with 11 assists.
It was the Spurs' first victory since they were forced to postpone four game because of COVID-19. Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Rudy Gay, Devin Vassell and Quinndary Weatherspoon were held out for San Antonio because of health and safety protocols.
"Players want to play," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said after the win. "The guys that fill in for people that are hurt, they don't want their teammates to be hurt, but if they are they want to play and they take advantage of those minutes. They certainly did tonight."
It was DeRozan's fifth game of least 25 points and 10 assists since joining the Spurs in 2018.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points off the bench for San Antonio, with Dejounte Murray hitting for 18, Lonnie Walker IV scoring 17, Patty Mills tallying 13 and Trey Lyles pumping in 10 points for the Spurs in Saturday's victory.
"A lot of people participated for us tonight," Popovich said. "Defensively, as a team, I thought we reacted really well. Overall, it was a great team effort and a fine win."
The Nets have dropped 17 straight games against the Spurs in San Antonio. Their last road win came on Jan. 22, 2002.
The Nets head to the Alamo City after a 115-98 loss at home to Dallas on Saturday that snapped Brooklyn's eight-game winning streak.
The Nets were without Kevin Durant, who will not return until after the upcoming All-Star Break because of a left hamstring strain, and Kyrie Irving, who rested his surgically repaired right shoulder.
That forced James Harden to carry the load for Brooklyn, and he was up to the task for the first half, scoring 25 of his team-leading 29 point before the break. The Nets scored just 34 points in the second half of Saturday's loss.
Durant has missed 10 of the last 11 games, including seven of the eight wins in Brooklyn's streak.
"The guys are ready for us to throw out different lineups and have different people out of the lineup," Nets coach Steve Nash said. "So, I don't think guys are that affected by the change. They're more used to the kind of inconsistency with our availability, and it's no big deal."
Jeff Green and Bruce Brown each scored 12 points in the loss and were the only other Brooklyn players in double figures.
Nash said that Irving's injury was not serious. It's the second game Irving has sat out to rest the shoulder after playing just 20 games last year.
"I would expect him to play (on Monday) and if not, I don't think this is a thing that will linger into the All-Star break," Nash said. "Kyrie knows his body -- he's discussed it with us. He has history with that shoulder and he is taking the necessary precautions to make sure he can keep up the maintenance on that shoulder."
--Field Level Media