The Philadelphia Sixers (15-20) played the final game of their 8-game road trip against the San Antonio Spurs (27-9). The Spurs are a well-experienced team and have been amongst the the best in the Western Conference. The Sixers were not able to overcome them, as they lost 109-86. There are a few things that could’ve contributed to this blowout; the Sixers are playing their 8th game in 12 days, and the Spurs are a more experienced team. The Sixers were able to keep the game close early on and into the end of the 1st half, but by the end of the third quarter it was pretty much over.
Offensively, they moved the ball around well in the first half, and had a team total of 10 assists led by Jrue Holiday’s 5. He finished the game with a total of 8 assists and the Sixers had 19 as a whole. Their shots just were not going in tonight. They did not take very high percentage shots and were forcing the issue. Holiday shot 33% from the field (5-15) and Evan Turner shot 0-4 from beyond the arc. As usual, when these Sixers’ stars are struggling there is someone else on the team ready to step up.
Spencer Hawes was that guy tonight for the Sixers with 22 points of the bench, shooting 10-13. Holiday deserves a lot of the credit for Hawes’ production, because it was Holiday’s ability to get into the lane that allowed Hawes to get open buckets. Despite Hawes’ solid production, the bench as a whole was lackluster with Dorell Wright, who played 31 minutes, scoring zero points on 0-3 shooting.
The Sixers were also a lot more aggressive than in their matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. As opposed to 8 attempts against OKC, the Sixers managed to get to the line 20 times. Against the Thunder they had 1 person attempt a free throw, but tonight 7 different players got to the line. Despite the aggressiveness, they shot 65% from the free throw line (13-20), a percentage that needs to go up. Coach Doug Collins must’ve gotten into the head of his players after his comments about their offensive aggression.
The Spurs attacked the lane aggressively, but unlike the Sixers they converted their free throws, with 23 attempts and 19 made (82.6%).
San Antonio was able to do whatever it wanted to on offense. The Sixers could not stop Tony Parker and the pick & roll. Parker is at his best when separation is created from a well-set screen by either Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter. At this point, Parker can dish it for an easy layup, or he can shoot it himself. The Spurs are a dangerous team when they execute the pick & roll and it showed tonight as they scored 109 points (with a combined 48 from Parker, Duncan, and Splitter).
They also have 3-point specialists like Danny Green, Matt Bonner, and Gary Neal who made it difficult to stay on the drivers. They made 8 threes tonight but did not have a high percentage (8-for-25), because they began to just jack up threes up by double-digits in the fourth quarter.
Play of the Game
Manu Ginobili, a good veteran player, made the Sixers defense look foolish. Ginoblii drove to the lane and faked out 2 defenders with a nice Euro-Step dunk. Honorable mention goes to Jrue Holiday who had a spectacular dunk of his own.
Stat of the Game
The Sixers shot 3-17 from the three-point line which equates to a percentage of 17.6. This is horrendous, and the Sixers need to take their time on offense. They are at their best when Jrue Holiday facilitates the offense and finds open guys with his dribble penetration.
Players of the Game
Spencer Hawes once again proved why he should be in the starting lineup. He needs to be more consistent with his scoring, but he’s still performing better than Lavoy Allen. Collins may be keeping Hawes on the bench for a reason, but it would be a good idea to start him. He scored 22 points and had 6 rebounds to go with it.
Tony Parker deserves Player of the Game for the Spurs, because of the way he took control of the game. Parker recognized mismatches and found open shooters. He recorded 5 assists and 20 points and shot 50% from the field. He also had two steals.