The Spurs replicated last week’s win over the Sixers in San Antonio with a 111-103 victory Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers were more competitive this time. Brett Brown tasked them with playing a full 48 minutes after they faltered in the second half a week ago.
They trailed the Spurs by only two points, 87-85, with 7:35 in the fourth but went scoreless for the next two minutes and halted momentum. The Spurs pulled ahead for their 12th straight win over the Sixers.
Joel Embiid (left knee contusion) did not play and missed both games against the Spurs his rookie season (see story). Richaun Holmes missed the game because of an upper-respiratory infection.
Inside the box score
• Kawhi Leonard led all players with 32 points, including a perfect 11 for 11 at the free throw line. He also had six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes.
• Jahlil Okafor, starting in place of Embiid, led the Sixers with 20 points. He shot 10 for 11 from the line, a career high in makes and attempts, and snared eight rebounds.
• Dario Saric also scored 20 points for the Sixers in 21 minutes off the bench.
• Tony Parker scored 18 points after shooting 0 for 5 from the field in their last matchup.
• Robert Covington was active with 18 points (6 of 14 shooting), six rebounds and two steals.
New starting five
Brown changed up the starting lineup by inserting Gerald Henderson back into the shooting guard spot in place of Nik Stauskas. Brown liked the addition of Henderson for his veteran leadership, which the head coach hoped would translate on the defensive end. This was the Sixers’ 21st starting lineup of the season.
Pop at the Palestra
The Spurs held shootaround Wednesday morning at the Palestra. The historic building, which opened in 1927, brought back memories of authentic basketball for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
“I wasn’t going to miss a chance to go to the Palestra because that’s like a real gym,” Popovich said. “Growing up, those are the kinds of gyms you loved — Butler Fieldhouse in Indiana — those are the kinds of places that make you fall in love with the game. The acoustics, the wood, just the whole scene. I wanted the players to see that. They don’t get to see that kind of thing very often.”
Faces in the crowd
M. Night Shyamalan was back at the Wells Fargo Center and this time he had an award-winning friend sitting courtside with him: Bryan Cranston. Former NBA champion and Philadelphia native Rasheed Wallace was also at the game.
The Sixers will miss the Philadelphia snow and travel to Orlando to play the Magic on Thursday.
(Story by CSNPhilly.com)