In a back-and-fourth game that saw ten lead changes and only minuscule leads, the San Antonio Spurs lost a heart-breaker to the Philadelphia 76ers. After starting the game down 3-13, DeMar DeRozan broke out of his shooting slump, and the Spurs led by 8 with 2:48 remaining. However, the Sixers closed the game on a 10-0 run, aided by some horrid execution by the Spurs and untimely officiating, and the Good Guys lost 122-120.
DeRozan led the Spurs with 27 points on 12-19 shooting, followed by 17 apiece from Rudy Gay and Patty Mills. Despite playing with a bad back, Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 33 points, and Ben Simmons had a 21/10/15 triple-double.
- Embiid was the literal definition of a “game-time decision” as Bill Land and Sean Elliott didn’t even have word on his status when the broadcast began 8 minutes before tip-off. However, he could be seen warming up behind them and ultimately played, albeit while looking a little stiff and more mellow than usual. (In all seriousness, he played well but was visibly in pain throughout the night. Hopefully he’s not putting himself at risk just for one game.)
- Miami just might have a challenger for the most annoying arena announcer in Philadelphia. Matt Cord’s use of the echo button when saying a player’s name after he scores (or just saying “Sixers”) is highly annoying, as is his long, rolling R’s for JJ Redick.
- It feels like a lot (but not all) of the Spurs issues with giving up offensive rebounds is a communication problem. In far from the first time this has happened, the 76ers scored their first bucket off, you guessed it, an offensive rebound that was the result of Bryn Forbes and Gay colliding in midair while going for a rebound without a single blue jersey nearby, and the ball fell right back into Philly’s hands, now in a brief 5-on-3 situation with those two guys lying on the floor.
- Gay had to sit with two fouls inside the first 4 minutes thanks to a couple of good acting jobs by Simmons. The first was a late whistle after he begged for a call on an air-ball in which he insisted Gay touched his arm (video replay said maybe, but if so we’re talking about a fingernail, and he likely doesn’t even get that call if it isn’t an air-ball), and then he ran into Gay as Rudy was grabbing a lose ball and took a dive for the call.
- Old Spurs nemesis Corey Brewer is back, appearing in just his second game of the season on a 10-day contract with the 76ers. He brought his signature pesky defense but also did what he always does against the Spurs but seemingly no one else: hit threes. For the game he had 9 points (2-3 from three) and two steals. I can see him getting signed for the remainder of the season.
- DeRozan started breaking out of his shooting funk tonight, and that was in spite of Brewer’s extremely pesky defense and attempts to get under his skin. A lot of that can be attributed to him getting himself more involved first instead of only looking to distribute early and waiting for his time to come.
- Derrick White was his quiet, effective self (at least on offense) and hit many timely shots when the Spurs needed it the most in a back-and-fourth game, such as when the 76ers were making a run, threatening to expand the lead, expanding the Spurs lead, etc. He ended the night with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and timely block of Embiid in the final minute.
- With 3 blocks on the night, LaMarcus Aldridge passed Manu Ginobili on the Spurs chart for ninth all-time in franchise history with 320. Marco Belinelli also passed Gary Neal for 12th most threes in Spurs history with 4 threes on the night. He also got a nice round of applause when he entered against his old team.
For the 76ers fans’ perspective, visit Liberty Ballers.
The Spurs are headed to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Saturday. It will be an early tip-off at 5:00 PM CT on FSSW.