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Spurs win fifth straight, defeat Sixers

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 109-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, beating former Spurs assistant Brett Brown, the Sixers' first-year coach, in the process.

That left San Antonio boss Gregg Popovich feeling conflicted, as he said it is "no fun at all" to face a friend.

"You have a weird feeling in a way," he said. "If you win, you feel sort of bad. If you lose, you're sort of happy for the other guy -- which is also a weird feeling."

Guard/forward Danny Green scored 18 points and point guard Tony Parker added 14 points and nine assists for the Spurs (7-1).

It was the fifth straight victory for San Antonio, which rested All-Star center/forward Tim Duncan, and the second straight one-sided affair. The Spurs had also routed New York, 120-89, on Sunday in New York.

"I think it's been pretty good basketball for us," Green said. "It's early in the season. We're getting back to moving the ball again. Defensively, we're cleaning up some of the mistakes still. We can fix some of those things, but I think for the most part we're playing pretty good basketball, heading in the right direction."

Guard/forward Evan Turner scored 20 points to lead the Sixers (4-4), who lost for the fourth time in five games. Center Spencer Hawes contributed 17 points and 13 rebounds.

As was the case throughout the early portion of the season, the Sixers struggled to defend the 3-point arc. They began the night having allowed more 3-pointers than any team in the league, and they saw the Spurs go 13-for-28 from the arc, led by Green's 5-for-7 output.

"Our coaching staff does a great job of scouting them," Green said, "and they let us know what they're good at and what they're bad at. We were aware of their weaknesses."

San Antonio, which led by as many as 29 points, shot 49.4 percent from the floor in all, 53.1 percent in the first three quarters.

None of this came as a surprise to Brown, who was part of the San Antonio organization for all four of its championship runs (1998-99, 2002-03, '04-05, '06-07).

"That's the Spurs," he said. "That's what we aspire to get to."

Before the game, Brown praised the Spurs from top to bottom, calling them "a machine" and saying everyone is "looking for A's, not B-pluses. It's just day-to-day work, and that's what I'm trying to do here."

He also said he learned many things from Popovich: "Humility. Perspective. Defense. Attention to detail. Ensuring that you don't skip steps. And a lot of human things that have nothing to do with basketball."

Popovich called Brown "a great friend" and said he was thrilled Brown got an opportunity to serve as an NBA head coach. It is Brown's first such position, though he had previous head-coaching experience in Australia, notably with that country's national team.

"People will find out shortly that he's for real," Popovich said. "He has a great personality, a great energy. He loves the game and loves people. He'll infect his players with that, and hopefully they'll respond."

Four others cracked double figures for the Spurs: guard/forward Kawhi Leonard (13), guard Marco Belinelli (12), center Tiago Splitter (11) and guard Patty Mills (10). Leonard also grabbed eight rebounds.

Splitter and Belinelli notched five points each in a 17-2 Spurs run at the end of the first quarter, when San Antonio extended a 14-11 lead to 31-13. The Sixers reeled off the first 10 points of the second period, five of those by Hawes, to cut the gap to 31-23.

Still leading by eight later in the quarter, the Spurs closed out the half with a 19-8 spree, giving them a 57-38 advantage. Parker slithered to the rim for three layups in that stretch, and Belinelli, Green and guard Manu Ginobili each knocked down a 3-pointer.

Turner scored 15 of his points in the first half, while Green led the Spurs with 12, all from the arc.

The Sixers never drew closer than 18 in the second half.

NOTES: The Sixers have allowed 13 3-pointers or more five times this season. The NBA record for most games allowing 13 or more is 13, by Charlotte last season. ... Spurs F Matt Bonner sat out his fourth straight game with tightness in his left calf. ... Sixers F Daniel Orton suited up after missing the two previous games with a sore right knee, but did not play. ... Sixers coach Brett Brown gushed about San Antonio's organization and long-term success before the game, but Spurs boss Gregg Popovich downplayed that. "What we did is, we didn't screw it up," he said. "We've had a lot of good fortune. We had David (Robinson). We were fortunate enough to draft Tim Duncan (in 1997). You're talking about a couple decades of possible success, obviously, if you don't screw it up." Brown agrees that San Antonio would not have won as much without those stars, but nonetheless believes the Spurs would have had their share of success without them. "The fact that they did it with great players makes it a heck of a lot easier to talk about," he said, "but I can promise you this: The program would be run correctly, no matter who walked in the door."

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