San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Finishing the home stand strong

SAN ANTONIO,TX - DECEMBER 17: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers tries to slow down DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on December 17, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO,TX - DECEMBER 17: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers tries to slow down DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on December 17, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs finished off their six-game home stand with a resounding 123-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Not a whole lot makes sense for the San Antonio Spurs this season. After blowing a 21-point lead at home to one of the Eastern Conference worst teams in Chicago, one would imagine they might crumble at the hands of a legitimate contender in Philadelphia.

Instead, the Spurs built an insurmountable lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Who would have thunk it?

It can be argued that Joel Embiid and LaMarcus Aldridge are the two best post-up big men of the modern NBA, so watching them duel is a wonderful rarity for fans of fundamental basketball. In an all-around effort, Aldridge won the matchup handedly with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists against Embiid.

Bounced back and started the week off right. ?#GoSpursGo https://t.co/DzTQs1DGSh

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2018

Aldridge committed two quick fouls early in the first quarter, forcing backup center Jakob Poeltl into the game quickly. At this point, it seemed as if Embiid would take over the contest and surge his Sixers. This wasn’t the case as Aldridge returned to the game in the second quarter and got back on track quickly. He hit 8-of-14 shots from the field and managed to finish the night without a turnover.

Even more impressive than his efficient scoring was Aldridge’s patience and anticipation on the defensive end. Using his veteran smarts and stout frame to his advantage, Aldridge held Embiid scoreless in the second half. He finished with 13 points on 35.5 percent shooting from the field including 0-of-6 shooting from three-point land.

Alongside LaMarcus in the frontcourt was Rudy Gay and Davis Bertans, who respectively had excellent games of their own. When these two show up, it allows Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan to slow down the game, focus on defense and create opportunities for others.

RUDY CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF ✈️@RudyGay | #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/wd1F0zc6OD

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2018

Gay finished with a game-high 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field along with six boards, three assists, a block and a steal. Oftentimes matched up against superstar shooting guard Jimmy Butler, Gay used his length to shoot above Butler on his mid-range jumpers.

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It was an excellent night for Bertans, who scored 16 points including three triples in the contest. He was on his A-game on defense, switching onto ball handlers and closing out on shooters throughout the night. Reminiscent of Manu Ginobili himself, Bertans continuously sacrificed his body for the sake of his team in what turned out to be a very physical game. That hustle resulted in six rebounds and a steal on the stat sheet in addition to his three assists.

The first quarter belonged to DeRozan as the superstar scored 14 of his 20 total points in the first frame. For the rest of the night, DeRozan decided not to force jumpers and instead distributed the ball to his teammates while putting in extra effort on defending the perimeter. He shouldn’t have to explode every time the Spurs pull out a win and tonight was a great example of how the team can operate without DeRozan taking 25+ shots.

As a team, the Spurs limited Philly to just 40.8 percent shooting from the field and 29.7 percent from three. They finished the night with nine blocks including three from second-year standout Derrick White, who finished with eight points, four assists and three rebounds in only 17 minutes of play.

Next up on the docket is the Orlando Magic, a team in the middle of an impressive start to the year in spite of low expectations.

Next. Exploring a potential Markelle Fultz trade

Games like this prove to be extremely important to a team’s pursuit of a playoff bid and the Spurs have won five of their last six. They’ll look to carry this hot streak with them to Disney World.

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