Barry Sparks Spurs Over Struggling 76ers
San Antonio 100, Philadelphia 91
SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 3 (Ticker) -- Brent Barry picked a good time to rediscover his game.
Barry was part of a decisive third-quarter surge and scored 11 of his season-high 14 points in the final period as the San Antonio Spurs pulled away for a 100-91 victory over the slumping Philadelphia 76ers.
"We played a good second half, a much better second half than the first half and an excellent third quarter," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We played differently in the second half, the ball moved and that always makes it tougher on defenses."
"We knew they would play a lot of zone tonight and there would be opportunities to find some holes in the zone and take open shots when they are there," said Barry, who made 4-of-6 3-pointers. "We knew we could try and hurt them from the outside."
Signed in the summer of 2004 to a four-year contract, Barry played a small role on last season's championship team and has seen his playing time diminish even more this season. The veteran guard had scored just 24 points all season, including 10 in his last six games.
"I have been working on trying to find my rhythm and take good shots," Barry said. "When we move the ball side to side on offense, it creates more opportunities to get better shots and higher-percentage shots. Finding a rhythm is about taking shots that you are used to taking."
With All-Star guard Manu Ginobili again sidelined with a bruised ankle, Barry filled in admirably. He drilled a 3-pointer during a 14-0 run that gave the Spurs a 70-57 lead late in the third quarter.
In the final period, Barry repeatedly found openings in the defense, making three more 3-pointers and a jumper. His shot from the arc gave San Antonio an 89-75 advantage with 5:02 remaining.
Rasho Nesterovic scored 12 points and Bruce Bowen's defense again slowed down a superstar as the Spurs defeated the 76ers in the Alamo City for the 19th time in the last 20 meetings.
Philadelphia's Allen Iverson scored 37 points but needed 32 shots as he was shadowed by Bowen, who has matched up against the 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki and the 6-foot Iverson in consecutive games.
"There is not going to be a game where he doesn't find his rhythm," Bowen said of Iverson. "You just have to try and make it as difficult as possible for him. I know what he likes to do because I have been playing against him for a while and I played with him, so I practiced against him every day.
"From the second quarter on, I used my length and it was just a matter of getting my hand up and giving him a little space so I could slide and beat him to certain spots at times."
Iverson scored just two points in the third quarter, when the game got away from the 76ers. Philadelphia has lost seven of its last nine games.
"They (referees) let Bruce Bowen be aggressive from the beginning to the end of the game," Iverson said. "They just let him get away with a lot of stuff, that's all it is."
Iverson scored 18 points in the first half, when Philadelphia led by as many as 10 points before settling for a 44-41 halftime edge. The Sixers still held a 57-56 lead before the Spurs took control, with Barry and Robert Horry draining 3-pointers during the surge.
"They just wanted it more than we did," Iverson said. "They played defense, made stops, and got the ball to the people who could do something with it. They made big shots. Brent Barry hit some big shots."