After two-straight wins that seemed to indicate that the Spurs might be breaking out of an extended offensive slump, it was back to the bad times for the Silver and Black tonight. As was the case with many of their losses this season, the Spurs came out extremely slow and out of sorts, and the Philadelphia 76ers took advantage in a game that was over midway through the first quarter.
The Spurs missed 17 of their first 23 shots on the way to a season low 31 points in the first half for a 20-point deficit. The effort and desire simply wasn’t there for much of the night, but it was for Philly, and they were rewarded with every loose ball and long rebound going their way, seemingly every contested shot going in, and wide open lanes to the basket.
The Spurs came out with a little more desperation to start the second half, but the ball still wouldn’t go through the hoop. In all they missed their first 14 three-point attempts — some open, some forced — before making three in a hard-fought but ultimately futile effort to get back in the game late. The short-handed Spurs couldn’t get closer than 16 throughout the second half before losing 97-78.
LaMarcus Aldridge was the only Spur who had anything going on offense, finishing the night with 18 points on 7-12 shots. Pau Gasol, who reached his 40,000th career minute early in the game, and Dejounte Murray were the only other Spurs in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively. On defense the Spurs had no answer for Ben Simmons, who finished with 21 points without even looking like he was trying. It was just that kind of night for the Silver and Black.
- Some still don’t like the camouflage jerseys, but I’ll take tonight’s silver and black “City Edition” ones over these every day of the week.
- There were two plays that best summed up the Spurs’ horrific first quarter: a Davis Bertans pass nut-megged Tony Parker and flew out of bounds, and a made circus shot by Aldridge that bounced off the top of the backboard and in was waived off because the refs determined he was fouled before the shot, even though he had gathered the pass and never put the ball down.
- Murray had some of those moments that remind you that he’s still learning on the fly. More than once he tried to push the ball up-court, but instead of waiting for his teammates when the opponent got back on D, he tried to force his way through 1-on-2 or 1-on-3 situations for a lay-up. He got blocked each time.
- Joffrey Lauvergne looked decent shooting the ball again. Maybe that splinted finger really was holding him back. Although most of his success came in garbage time, we must give credit where it’s due since almost everyone else was garbage tonight.
- Late in the third quarter, Justin Anderson’s arm made contact with Patty Mills above the shoulders as he went around a screen. The refs called the foul, and while Anderson had no trouble with the call, it looked like he was trying to reassure the ref that it was an accident to avoid a flagrant. Of course it wasn’t, and it wasn’t even reviewed as one, but it’s a reminder of how many silly fouls we’ve seen reviewed over the last couple of years that he was even concerned about it. I even remember ranting about it once upon a time.
- Kawhi Leonard was sitting in usual spot at the end of the bench tonight but was wearing his warm-ups instead of street clothes. Does this mean “indefinitely” is changing to “not much longer”? Let’s hope so, because the Spurs desperately need someone to get healthy.
The Spurs fall to 32-19 (third in the West) and 20-4 at home.
For the 76ers fans’ perspective, visit Liberty Ballers.
The Spurs return to the court on Sunday to take on the Sacramento Kings at home. Tip-off will be at 6:00 PM CT.