Offensive rating: Spurs – 105.8 (4th), 76ers – 102.1 (12th)
Defensive rating: Spurs – 101.9 (17th), 76ers – 94.7 (1st)
Pace: Spurs – 94.3 (11th), 76ers – 91.8 (28th)
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Radio: WOAI-AM 1200, KCOR-AM 1350
– Spurs are 5-1 at home this season vs. Eastern Conference teams.
– Teams have split series each of the last four seasons.
– Philly’s last win in San Antonio was on Jan. 3, 2004.
– Sixers are No. 1 in defensive efficiency (94.7 points allowed per 100 possessions), defensive eFG% (.450) and turnover rate (10.5).
– Spurs injury report: Gary Neal (left mid-foot sprain) and Tiago Splitter (back spasms) are day-to-day.
– This is just my guess but I’m expecting Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tiago to play tonight while Neal and Tim Duncan sit out.
– In their last game, the Parker-Splitter pick-and-roll was absolutely deadly. They combined for 52 points on 55.9 percent shooting. Parker unusually struggled from 16-23 feet. He was 1-for-7 and if he had made these at his normal rate (38.0 percent), we might’ve seen him put up 40-plus on the Sixers. I don’t expect that kind of performance given both Parker and Splitter are coming off injuries but the rapport they have established is strong enough at this point to topple the best defenses in basektball.
– The Sixers were missing center Spencer Hawes, though. He’s blocking 1.3 shots per game so we’ll see if he makes any tangible impact on the Spurs ability to get to the rim.
– Philadelphia is No. 4 in defensive 3-point percentage. Opposing teams make 31.7 percent of their 3-point attempts. Comparatively, the Spurs are No. 1 in 3-point percentage at 40.1 percent.
– Doug Collins has a nice defensive foundation to build around. The Sixers excel in preventing attempts at the rim and they bait the offense into taking a lot of long 2s. These shots are closer than 3-pointers but they don’t have the added value of the extra point. That, more than anything, might explain their No. 1 ranked defense.
– Speaking of defense, Andre Iguodala is an incredible defender. He is highly regarded as one of the best defenders alongside other stout stoppers Tony Allen and LeBron James. Per 48 minutes, Iguodala allows a mere 11.2 points at a woefully inefficient 34.5 eFG%. He also creates a lot of turnovers, averaging 2.1 steals per 40 minutes. The lucky Spur that matches up with Iggy won’t have an easy day.
– I mentioned this in my Q&A with Dante Nelson from The Sixer Sense but it deserves mentioning again. Lou Williams, despite his 6th man label, is the Sixers crunch time go-to guy. He averages 37.5 points per 48 minutes in the clutch (defined as five-point deficit in the 4th quarter).