Photo By: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Relief. That’s what Doc Rivers said he and the Sixers felt when Ben Simmons tipped in a game-winner against the Spurs, and frankly, that’s the only way to describe it. The Sixers were up by as much as seventeen in the second half, and that lead evaporated before the end of regulation. It took five extra minutes, but the Sixers managed to leave San Antonio with a win, and the one seed in the East
This was not a Spurs team the Sixers should have gone to OT with if the Spurs were completely healthy, but the Spurs were missing key players, and only had one regular starter. Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poetl, and Trey Lyles were all sidelined for this game, and the Sixers failed to take advantage. However, the remaining Spurs took advantage of the increase of shots, and they started pouring in points. Lonnie Walker, a Pennsylvania native, led the way off the bench with 23 PTS, then it was Keldon Johnson with 19 PTS, 6 REB, and 5 AST. Rudy Gay added in 18 PTS and 10 REB, and Gorgui Dieng dropped in 17 PTS. These are not players the Sixers should struggle against, but inexplicably, they did.
Joel Embiid once again led the way for the Sixers, as he had 34 PTS, and 12 REB on 56% from the field and a perfect 7/7 from the line. Seth Curry also had a massive game, pouring in 22 PTS on a perfect 6/6 from three. Simmons had a mediocre game, ending with only 5 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, and 2 STL, though two of those 5 PTS were the last two, and the two that won the game for the Sixers. The main issue last night was the play of Tobias Harris. He only had 6 PTS, on 3/10 shooting and he looked lost at times. Dwight Howard gave the Sixers a boost off the bench and dropped in 14 PTS and 11 REB.
After surviving in San Antonio, the Sixers are going to Chicago to take on a lesser opponent tonight. Traveling on the second night of a back-to-back is always tough, and a game that required every ounce of the Sixers energy is going to be tough to follow up. The Sixers have won four in a row, and are looking to keep it rolling after they touch down in Chicago.