After narrowly maintaining their perfect home record, the San Antonio Spurs hit the road trying to establish a season-best overall winning streak when they face one of the NBA's worst home teams that's fresh off a coaching dismissal.
The Brooklyn Nets have moved on from Lionel Hollins amid being in danger of suffering their first double-digit home skid in nearly six years Monday night, and avoiding it means beating a team they lost to by 27 in the first week of the season.
The Nets (10-27) announced Hollins' firing Sunday and reassigned general manager Billy King in the midst of their worst season since moving from New Jersey. Assistant Tony Brown will serve as interim coach and the GM position will remain open until a replacement is hired.
While the only team standing between San Antonio (32-6) and NBA supremacy is Golden State, Brooklyn is the worst team in the Eastern Conference aside from woeful Philadelphia.
"It's clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership," owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. "With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching."
Gameday No. 1 on the job for Brown won't be easy.
San Antonio won 100-99 over New York on Friday to get to 22-0 at home and extend its winning streak to seven, its second such run of the season separated from the first one by an 88-84 loss in Houston on Christmas Day.
Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Spurs, whose previous six wins came by an average of 20.3 points. San Antonio shot 54.0 percent in those games compared to 44.1 against the Knicks, but they didn't feel there was a letdown.
"I was kind of enjoying (the blowouts)," guard Manu Ginobili said. "It's not bad to win games like that. Nothing is easy in the NBA, but we knew in facing the Knicks that they were playing great, feeling good about themselves. We had to play much better to get this win. And I think we did."
The Spurs won 102-75 at home over Brooklyn on Oct. 30 with a 56-32 rebounding advantage, but the teams have split the last four meetings with the Nets winning both in Brooklyn. Those games, however, came when the Nets (10-27) were of playoff caliber.
That's not the case this season as their worst home skid since a 14-game slide during 2009-10 stretches on.
They dropped their fourth straight overall Saturday, 103-89 at Detroit heading into a three-game homestand. Brooklyn has averaged 87.8 points, 41.1 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from 3-point range in a 1-5 span.
They at least embraced the long-range shortcomings against the Pistons and limited their attempts, going 5 of 9. Other trends held true as the Nets fell behind by 10 after the first quarter, as they've been outscored 30.0-19.8 in the first 12 minutes during the skid.
"This has been a theme all season," said center Brook Lopez, who had a team-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting. "A team makes an early run at us and we can't respond, so we spend the rest of the game digging ourselves out of a hole."
And new trends are emerging. Brooklyn was outrebounded 47-38 and has a minus-9.0 differential in the last three games. San Antonio has outrebounded its last nine opponents by plus-6.7.