Spurs 99, 76ers 85
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Spurs dominated early and hit all the big shots at the end. Not even a sour stretch in the second half kept them from beating the 76ers.
“We took the punch fairly well, came back, made some stops and got it done,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
There was no immediate carryover for the Sixers from their overtime win against Miami on Friday night. The Spurs opened a 10-point lead late in the first quarter, stretched it to 22 points, and seemed set to coast toward an easy win against the worst team in the East.
The Sixers gamely rallied in the third quarter, hustling, chasing loose balls and playing with more energy against a Spurs team that has a better record than every team in the East.
But Horry hit a 3 late in the fourth to end a Sixers’ spurt and seal the win.
“It’s a credit to them because they just scrapped and stayed in the game, but we made it more of a game than it should be,” said Barry, who scored 18 in the first half.
With the Spurs cruising from the start, Philadelphia pulled to within 13 at the end of the third. Kyle Korver sank a 3-pointer and hit a 19-footer, then Iguodala scored on a driving layup that pulled them within single digits for the first time since the opening minutes.
Listless in the first half, the Sixers suddenly were pumping their fists and exhorting the crowd, looking for any edge as they tried to win two straight games for the first time in nearly a month.
“It’s tough to climb out of a hole against a team like the Spurs,” Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
But the Sixers tried and when Samuel Dalembert hit three of four free throws and Andre Miller scooted down the lane for a layup, that made it 83-78. The Sixers pulled to 85-79 but Michael Finley answered with a 3 for the Spurs.
Duncan was an absolute non-factor for the Spurs in the second half. He went 6-for-13 from the floor for 14 points in the first half and carried the Spurs to a 61-41 lead at the break. Duncan hardly had any touches in the second half, missed his first four field goals, and didn’t sink a basket until there was 4:28 left for a 90-81 lead. The Spurs missed nine straight shots for a nearly 4-minute span in the middle of the fourth that helped the Sixers trim the score.
But the crowd turned on Dalembert after he missed an easy alley-oop, the lowlight of a 4-for-16 night from the floor, and that was all for the Sixers.
“We missed a couple of chips shots down low, but overall I thought we played a good game,” Dalembert said.
No, it wasn’t the playoffs, but it was another big shot for Horry after he drilled a 3 from the left side that allowed the Spurs to regain a double-digit lead and sent the crowd for the exits.
The Sixers last won consecutive games on Dec. 22 at Boston and Dec. 23 against New York. … Barry hit five of San Antonio’s 11 3-pointers. The Sixers hit only one 3. … The Sixers have lost 17 games decided by 10 or more points and are 3-23 when trailing at the half.