The Spurs late-game dramatics finally came back to bite them as the Sixers outlasted a furious fourth-quarter comeback. Despite owning a 4 point cushion with less than a minute to go, San Antonio gave up a lead-changing triple to Shake Milton that would ultimately be their undoing in a 130-132 defeat.
DeMar DeRozan paced the Spurs with a game-high 30 points, 3 assists, a pair of blocks, followed closely by a vintage 24 point outing from Rudy Gay. Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 27 points, 9 boards, and 4 assists while Tobias Harris stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
- It is hard to believe Joel Embiid only had 27 points on a night where it felt like he could have easily gone for 50. The All-NBA big man terrorized San Antonio on the interior and forced Jakob Poeltl to the bench with foul trouble for the second straight game. He was easily the best player on the floor for either team, and the fact Philly used him so conservatively was a bit befuddling.
- Though Ben Simmons fouled out of the game in a rather uneventful appearance by his standards, teammate Tobias Harris stepped up for the Sixers. The nine-year pro burned the Spurs for 25 points and added 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a block, and a steal. He also knocked down an impressive double-clutch three right with Derrick White right in his grill.
- Lonnie Walker IV failed to score in double-digits for a third straight game for the first time this season, though he did throw down a thunderous third-quarter jam. Pop pulled the Reading, Pennsylvania product from the court in the first quarter, and he never got in a groove again, even when he returned to the hardwood in the second half.
- Quinndary Weatherspoon showed off his defensive chops in relief duty for Lonnie Walker IV and picked the pocket of Sixers’ point guard Raul Neto after he got a little too fancy with a behind-the-back dribble. He didn’t contribute much else in his 18 minutes of action, but his defensive intensity was more than enough to warrant an opportunity to play down the road.
- Tyler Zeller made his second appearance for the San Antonio Spurs and scored his first points for the franchise on a feathery-soft lefty hook. The veteran journeyman was active on the glass, recording 4 rebounds in as many minutes, though he found little success scoring the ball, going 1-of-4 from the field.
- DeMar DeRozan scored just 8 first-half points through the first two seeding games, and he topped that number with 11 points in the first quarter alone, including an unusually unhesitant three-pointer. The four-time All-Star collected 17 points by halftime, 13 in the fourth quarter, and he finished the evening with 30 points.
- Patty Mills continued his rise on the NBA’s all-time three-point leaderboard, passing former Orlando Magic sharpshooter Nick Anderson for sole possession of 100th place in league history. San Antonio’s second-unit spark plug had little impact on the outcome, though there was something refreshingly nostalgic about watching Patty wave a towel from the sidelines as the Spurs made a fourth-quarter charge.
- The Spurs were tied with Houston for the third-most first-quarter points per game (37.0) since the start of official seeding games, and San Antonio got off to another scorching start. The Silver and Black tallied 32 points in the opening frame on 13-of-24 shooting from the field and 22 combined points from Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.
- Rudy Gay was a frigid 3-of-15 from the field a night ago, but the 14-year veteran bounced back with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first half. He finished the game as the Spurs’ second-leading scorer with 24 points, though his season-high effort went to waste as San Antonio lost a heartbreaker.
- Keldon Johnson remained a staple of the rotation, notching a career-high 15 points in 22 minutes. He also rocked the rim on an and-one finish over Raul Neto and nailed his lone three-point attempt of the game.
- Derrick White drew 19 charges in 61 games coming into the Orlando bubble, and the Colorado alum has now brought that total to 26 with just14 three additional outings to his name. While White was virtually invisible for most of the contest, he spurred a fourth-quarter run with a momentum-swinging four-point play.
- Dejounte Murray was largely ineffective as a scorer, though he put together another spectacular defense-to-offense sequence we’ve come to expect from him. Unfortunately, the all-world defender gave up the game-winning three-pointer and tipped the ball out of bounds to give Philadelphia the final possession with San Antonio down a single point.
- Jakob Poeltl picked up a foul just 15 seconds after the opening tip, his second less than a minute later, and his third moments into the second quarter. Pop swiftly replaced him with Drew Eubanks, and the second-year center did a serviceable job in Poeltl’s absence, swatting a pair of shots and securing 6 rebounds in 19 minutes.
- With the Grizzlies losing to the Pelicans earlier tonight and the Spurs loss to the Sixers, San Antonio remains two games back of Memphis in the Western Conference standings. Even if the Silver and Black were to overtake the eighth spot by the end of the seeding games, they would still potentially face the Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Suns, or Grizzlies in a play-in series.
- The Spurs season-high three-game winning streak came to an end after falling to the 76ers, and San Antonio has now lost three in a row to Philly. Thile Brett Brown and crew have won five of the last six meetings between these two interconference foes, the Silver and Black hold the edge 58-39 in the all-time regular-season series.
For the 76ers fans’ perspective, visit Liberty Ballers.
The Spurs will get a day off before taking on the Denver Nuggets in an after match-up on Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 3:00 PM CT on FSSW.