The San Antonio Spurs look to extend their winning streak to five games, and halt a four-game slide in Philadelphia when they begin a four-game road trip with a matchup against the 76ers.
The Spurs opened this season with consecutive victories over the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers before losing to the Seattle SuperSonics. San Antonio, however, has followed that defeat with four straight wins, including Tuesday’s 99-81 victory over the New York Knicks.
Tony Parker, who had four assists in each of the previous three games and was held to four points or less in two of them, had 18 points and a season-high nine assists Tuesday to lead the Spurs.
“I was trying to be more aggressive and tried to get everybody involved,” said Parker, who signed a $66 million contract extension just before the season began. “I found a lot of my teammates a lot of open shots, and my shot will come back maybe.”
San Antonio finished with 25 assists on its 32 field goals.
“They’re an unselfish group of guys, and they’re getting better and better,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We did a good job of moving the ball and getting a lot of players involved in the offense tonight.”
San Antonio, which finished last season tied with the defending champion Detroit Pistons for the league’s best scoring defense at 84.3 points a game, is allowing 81 during the streak.
The Spurs are beginning a stretch of four games in five days. They visit Boston on Friday and Toronto on Sunday before concluding their road trip Monday in Memphis.
San Antonio, though, hasn’t won in Philadelphia since a 94-91 victory on Nov. 22, 1999.
The Sixers had their three-game winning streak snapped Tuesday, falling 103-95 at home to the Sonics. Seattle, which came into the game with an NBA-best 58 3-pointers, shot 18-of-39 from beyond the arc, tying a team record for 3s.
“They were just better than us tonight,” Iverson said. “We had our opportunities to win the game, and we just couldn’t pull it out. But I honestly feel good about the effort that we gave. I just didn’t like the way we broke down as a team.”
STANDINGS (through Nov. 16): Spurs - 1st place, Southwest Division. 76ers - 2nd place (tied), 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Spurs - Duncan, 22.3 ppg and 14.1 rpg; Parker, 5.3 apg. 76ers - Iverson, 26.4 ppg and 7.6 apg; Thomas, 7.6 rpg.
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 76ers, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 3; 76ers, 83-77. At San Antonio, the Sixers played their 10th straight game without the injured Iverson, but were still able to end the Spurs’ 13-game winning streak and earn their first victory in San Antonio since Jan. 6, 1986.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Spurs - 2-1 on the road; 76ers - 3-2 at home.