The Spurs swarmed on defense and took advantage of cold shooting by the Sixers to put away the game early in the 4th quarter behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s 20 points and 10 rebounds. Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan also poured in 21 and 20 points, respectively. Davis Bertans led the bench with 16 points and 6 hard-earned rebounds. San Antonio was able to wrap up their string of home games with a 5-1 record.
The Sixers figured to be a tough match-up, and they certainly were because the Spurs fell behind early and had to scrap their way back into the game. DeRozan carried the scoring load early on, and Bertans came off the bench to help close the Sixers’ lead.
By the time most of the starters came back onto the floor, the Spurs were able to grab a lead behind a series of solid defense. When the Spurs doubled Joel Embiid, it seemed to at least slow him down either resulting in missed shots or a turnover. Thus a slow start gave way to a 60-49 lead for the Spurs at halftime over a quality opponent.
Unlike Saturday’s collapse against the Bulls, the Spurs came out in the 3rd quarter more focused and looked to extend their lead. Aldridge putbacks and jumpers combined with DeRozan feeding Gay for easy buckets helped them increase their halftime lead.
The good guys were able to wrap this one up tonight and tag in the bench by bottling up Embiid and Jimmy Butler. The laser focus and lack of turnovers made the biggest difference. If inconsistency was a theme of this season, add low lows contrasted with their high highs to the season story arc. Tonight was a high.
- Sometimes Embiid just looks unstoppable. He can shoot or bully his way down low. He’s averaging 26.9 PPG so it’s scary to imagine how much better he’ll be when he really puts it all together.
- Speaking of bullies, Gay bullying his way into the paint for a dunk or a lay-in is one of my favorite things this season.
- Need an offensive rebound with at least three defenders draped all over you? Just call Jakob Poeltl.
- Aldridge was in rhythm all night, and he helped keep a body on Embiid all night.
- Given where the Spurs were sitting before their 6-game home-stand, 5-1 is darn good. Stringing wins on the road will be a tougher but much needed challenge for them.
- I cannot prove this, but sometimes I feel like Popovich wants second half collapses, due to lack of focus and lack of respect for your opponent, to happen (e.g., Saturday’s game against the Bulls) to remind these guys to (cliché alert) play hard all 48 minutes.
Tune In Next Time:
San Antonio goes on the road to play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, December 19, 2019 at 6:00 PM CDT.