SAN ANTONIO – For the first time since 2004, the Philadelphia 76ers were not conquered by the San Antonio Spurs and took a dominating win over the silver and black.
Friday night’s 97-78 loss not only set an all-time season low of points scored by the Spurs this year, but also marked the second time San Antonio has been swept in a season series by an Eastern Conference team.
The 76ers joined the Indiana Pacers, who accomplished the season sweep and defeated the Spurs 94-86 at the AT&T Center on Sunday.
Point guard Ben Simmons simply said breaking the 14-year losing streak in San Antonio is the turning point to a new era.
“The old Sixers. We got to come here with a new mentality and got to leave the past behind and play the way we play,” Simmons said.
✌🏾☝🏾👌🏾: The choice of music for the #Sixers in the locker room following their 97-78 win over the #Spurs...a little bit of Jazz music followed by “Return of the Mack (which is one of my favorites by the way). Ouch, Spurs fans, ouch. 😞 #KSATnews #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/r34x5QJb5t— Adrian Garcia (@adrianrolgarcia) January 27, 2018
Simmons ended the game as the team’s leading scoring scorer, racking up 21 points off 91-percent shooting on the NBA’s fourth best defensive team, the Spurs.
The 76ers not only managed to defensively crush the Spurs to a season low but also started the game by allowing San Antonio to score 13 points in the first quarter, which tied the season low that was set on Dec. 30 in Detroit.
“I think we played good defense. I think our first-half defense was excellent. I think when they started to make a mini-run, which I feel like they did it twice, in the second half we responded, primarily through the turnover stuff and the foul stuff,” Brown said.
✌🏾☝🏾👌🏾: I asked #Sixers @sixers HC/Former Spurs Assistant Brett Brown what was the game plan going into tonight’s game that ultimately led to the #Spurs to scoring a season low of 78 PTS. Here’s what he said to @InstantReplaySA #KSATsports #KSATnews #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/L4qTGm6rnY— Adrian Garcia (@adrianrolgarcia) January 27, 2018
Brown said the win was large in part due to his team’s luxury of length and the game plan was to switch a lot on the Spurs, hitting them quickly and not getting beat on the first dribble.
“I think that defensively, because we have that type of length, that if you can do that and keep the game in front of you, you really have a chance to be an elite defensive team, and when you have Joel Embiid behind you it even gives you an even greater chance,” Brown said.
For All-Star center Joel Embiid, the overpowering victory is a great achievement but he knows the past two meetings against the injured Spurs may require asterisks next to final scores.
✌🏾☝🏾👌🏾: #Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid said Friday night’s victory over the #Spurs was good win but knows #SanAntonio is without their star players like Kawhi. WATCH⬇️ what he had said & what Ben Simmons & HC Brown had to say➡️https://t.co/0V8AJaV5dr #KSATnews #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/D7yqfX7CJB— Adrian Garcia (@adrianrolgarcia) January 28, 2018
“I’ll take it, but you know you always want to play against the best and they didn’t have Kawhi (Leonard). Manu (Ginobili) was missing too and Rudy (Gay) so they’re not 100 percent,” Embiid said. “That’s a good win, but sometimes you also want to measure yourself with the best. I’ll take the win, but I think we did a great job. You can’t take away what we did tonight, but we did a great job.”
Embiid, who finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points and 14 rebounds, said their physicality Friday night led to continuing their win streak of 10-3 that started on Christmas Day.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spent less than 45 seconds in his postgame interview sharing praise for his former assistant Brown and left with one message to describe Friday night’s game.
“If I was a San Antonio fan tonight, I’d ask for my money back,” Popovich said.
The Spurs (32-19) look to bounce back at home on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings (15-33) at 6 p.m.