The Spurs came into Philly with several more hours of rest than usual for a SEGABABA. Even so, Pop got Timmy his first non-injury rest of the early season. Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter returned to the starting lineup and the Spurs took care of business in a game that was competitive for about 10 total minutes.
The Sixers had wildly exceeded preseason expectations with a 4-3 record coming into tonight including wins over Miami and Chicago, but they weren't able to keep their offense humming at the rate of their first seven games against a very good San Antonio defense. Tonight they looked more like the team that people were expecting before the season started, not the team with the high-octane offense that surprised people in the first week of the season.
The Sixers are a young team, and the mistakes they made added up to a pretty easy win for the good guys. They were able to put together a couple of nice runs to keep this one from getting completely out of hand early, but the Spurs were able to respond each time with a combination of solid play from Tony Parker and what is now a torrential downpour of threes. The Spurs have connected on 25 of their last 56 attempts in the last two games.
The Spurs went on a 14-0 run in last three minutes of the 1st to take a 31-13 lead into the second while holding Philly to 13 points on 27% shooting. It seemed like the Spurs were going to put this one out of reach, but Brett Brown said something effective and his team responded with a 10-0 run to start the second. The Spurs then responded with some Danny Green 3's and some pretty layups from Tony Parker. By halftime the Spurs had built their lead up to 19 and the game was pretty much over.
The Spurs still aren't playing ball at the level that they want, but despite a little sloppiness all around, they easily ran away with this one. The threes were finding the bottom of the net at a high clip all night. It was great to see Danny follow up his incredible performance from Sunday afternoon with another nice game.
- I'm not sure how many dunks Jeff Ayers missed tonight, but I think it was three or four if you count the one where he was fouled. I can't remember the last time a Spur missed so many dunks in a single game. Did he set a record? Outside of that I think that Ayers is showing some improvement, but he is still a step or two late on some rotations and that jump shot doesn't inspire any confidence.
- Patty Mills continued his excellent play to start the season. It seemed like he was stealing the ball in the backcourt every other possession. Apparently it was only four steals and two in the backcourt, but Patty was good tonight, knocking down 50% of his shots and 40% from three. He also had 3 boards, a couple assists, and no turnovers.
- Michael Carter-Williams had a terrible shooting night going 2-11 and was pretty much a non-factor though he did stuff the stat sheet with 4 assists and 3 steals and a block. He has now shot 38% or worse from the field in four of his last five games. It's rough out there for a rookie.
Spencer Hawes was looking at the refs for a call on several occasions, including one where he had Tony guarding him in the post and was only able to put up one of the ugliest attempts I have ever seen. Who knew Tony could do anything against a guy that size in the post? He had great anticipation and was able to put up a great contest.
- Danny Green seems to have bounced back from his rough start hitting 15 of his 27 attempts from behind the arc in his last four games. The Knicks and Sixers helped him by leaving him open far too often. He followed up that 24-10 with an 18-7.
- Pop was able to get in some rest for Manu Ginobili, who only played 13 minutes, but connected on both of his long range attempts. Hopefully, this is the beginning of him getting his stroke back.
- I thought the rest of the team was status quo. Tony was just really solid tonight. Boris Diaw continued his more active roll and started the game with three really nice passes to Splitter in the post, but Tiago missed an easy hook on one and robbed Boris of an assist. Marco Belinelli had a good game off the bench tonight.
- Kawhi Leonard still hasn't found his 3 point touch and continues to have struggles when he tries to do too much. He was able to knock down some tough, and questionable, long range twos, and he grabbed eight rebounds and had a couple steals. Certainly a good game from him, but his handles still scare me and it would be nice to see him hit more than 25% of his 3-point attempts.
The Spurs' defense was once again encouragingly stingy, and their offense was working against a pretty bad Sixers defense. They improve to 7-1 and have two more wins than the idle Thunder for first in the West.
For the opponent's perspective, check out Liberty Ballers.