76ers Look to Keep Rolling on the Road
On the heels of a perfect three-game home stand, the 76ers (42-21) will look to keep rolling on their three-game road trip, beginning in San Antonio Sunday.
It was a dominant stint at home for the Sixers, topping the Thunder, 121-90 Monday, then sweeping their two-game set with the Hawks, 127-83 Wednesday, and 126-104 Friday.
The team’s cumulative +97 margin of victory over those three games marked the largest three-game margin in franchise history.
Over the course of the three games, no Sixer starter played more than 27 minutes (Ben Simmons’ total minutes Friday). Doc Rivers emptied his bench in all three matchups, as each of the Sixers’ units got extended opportunities to build chemistry.
Following Friday’s win, Rivers praised the second unit’s performance - primarily featuring Shake Milton, George Hill, Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle, and Dwight Howard - especially considering Hill’s recent addition.
“I love it - they’re all playing well,” Rivers said. “Dwight’s playing really well, really focused right now. Our guards, we have speed, man. You have three solid defenders out on the floor - it allows all the other guys to play.”
Howard finished with a team-high 19 points, plus 11 rebounds and two blocks Friday.
“We’ve got a great team, man,” Howard said postgame. “I think it was firing on all cylinders. The second unit did an amazing job of coming in the game and playing great defense. I was very proud of our guys tonight.”
Rivers added that Thybulle’s (10 pts, 5 ast, 4 stl) ability to flex between guarding larger and smaller players alike (he spent much of the Atlanta series guarding Danilo Gallinari) has played a major role in the unit’s success.
“Matisse is very strong. He’s capable of guarding a lot of different guys. He’s strong, he’s athletic, he’s very smart, he’s quick, and he has help - so he can be aggressive, and play Matisse Thybulle defense.”
Looking down the stretch, and ahead to the playoffs, Rivers expects the reserve unit to see more opportunity:
“I’m not scared putting this group on the floor.”
Sunday’s matchup tips at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Spurs (31-31) occupy the no. 10 seed in the Western Conference, with the no. 9 Warriors at 32-32.
The Spurs are 5-5 in their last 10 games, most recently falling, 143-140 to the Celtics Friday in overtime - a contest in which Jayson Tatum scored 60. DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Spurs, notching a 30-point, 14-assist double-double.
DeRozan leads the Spurs in scoring this season, averaging 21.7 points per game, plus 4.4 rebounds per game and 7.4 assists (also a team-high).
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