SAN ANTONIO – It started out looking like another rough night at home for the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs against the Philadelpia 76ers, but the Spurs flexed their muscle in the second half and picked up another double digit win 102-86.
It was the 26th straight game the Spurs have scored 100 or more points. Both teams were shorted handed, especially in the middle.
The Spurs are still without Pau Gasol, who is out with that broken finger, however Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said before the game that Gasol could be back after the All-Star break if not a game before.
LaMarcus Aldridge also sat out to rest a sore knee. Spurs fans were also unable to see one of the best young stars in person, Joel Embiid, who sat out for rest.
Davis Bertans and Dewayne Dedmon got the start for Spurs. Bertans had a couple of 3-pointers and a nice slam in the first quarter for 8 points.
"I think I am getting more comfortable and players are getting more comfortable with me on the court," said Bertans who finished the night with 12 points.
The Spurs got the lead to eight in the second quarter only to give it back.
Kawhi Leonard had to hit a jumper just to tie it at 44 with 2:48 left in the first half but then the Sixers went on a 9-4 run to close out the quarter and they led at halftime 53-48.
The third quarter was more to the Spurs liking. They went on a 13-1 to get the lead back, and were up six at the end of the quarter. Danny Green had eight points in the quarter including a couple of three pointers.
They stepped up their defense and held the Sixers to just 20 points on 26 percent shooting in the quarter.
Then the more of the same in the fourth.The Sixers only managed 13 in the final period for 33 points in the second half.
"We played a good 24 minutes in the second half," said Popovich. "If you can keep teams to 33 points a half I think you'll win all the games," said Bertans.
The second half defense got it done, but so did Dedmon.
Popovich gave the first year Spur a lot of credit after he finished with a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds, along with two blocked shots.
"I thought Dewayne Dedmon was the star of show tonight. Everything he did was great and I thought Tony Parker did a good job of including him in the second half," said Popovich.
Dedmon had eight points in the second half including a couple of alley oop dunks from Tony Parker.
"The last time I did that was with Timmy so that was a long, long, long time ago," said Parker.
"It feels good definitely when the ball is moving around and everybody is just finding a open player it definitely feels good," Dedmon said.
Part of his motivation for playing good is being part of a little exclusive group called the tiger squad that pride themselves in bringing a lot of energy to the floor.
"We are trying to bring juice every game," Dedmon said.
They have a chance to go hunting one more time at home when they host Denver Saturday night, then it is off on the rodeo road trip.
With the victory Popovich tied former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan for most NBA head coaching wins (1,127) with the same franchise.
"He is in a different league than me," said Popovich.