Game Preview | Seeking Split With Spurs
The 76ers (31-17) will look to even their season series against the San Antonio Spurs (27-21) Wednesday at The Center.
The Sixers are 8-3 thus far in a challenging month of January, and along the way, have become a top-five team in points, rebounds, and assists per game (the only other team with such status is the Milwaukee Bucks).
In each of their last four games, the Sixers have outrebounded and out-assisted their opponent. But Brett Brown thinks the team’s defensive improvements have been even more significant.
“I think, without a doubt, there have been big strides,” Brown said. “Most importantly, the group spirit is excellent. There really is a tightness emerging amongst our team, and that, maybe, is the foundation of everything.”
In yet another game with a playoff-like atmosphere Monday night at The Center, the Sixers shone against the Rockets and reigning MVP James Harden. Joel Embiid recorded 32 points, 14 boards, and three blocks in 27 minutes of play. Landry Shamet contributed 18 points off the bench.
The team is now 20-5 at The Center, and tied for the second-most home wins in the NBA. With a four-game road trip on the horizon, T.J. McConnell reflected on the support the Sixers have received in South Philadelphia.
“[The fans] are behind us always,” McConnell said. “I can’t say enough good things about them. But they make our home court a really tough place to play, and that’s why we’re pretty damn good at home.”
Wednesday’s contest marks the first return of Marco Belinelli as a Spur. He played 28 games with the Sixers last season.
The Spurs took the first meeting of the season between these two teams, 123-96, on Dec. 23 in San Antonio. In that contest, JJ Redick and Ben Simmons led the Sixers with 16 points apiece.
The Spurs are 4-4 over their last eight contests. In his first season as a Spur, DeMar DeRozan leads the team in scoring (21.4 ppg) and assists (6.4 apg). In the December meeting between these teams, Rudy Gay scored 21 points, while DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge each recorded 20.
• Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network
• Video: ESPN / NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBC Sports MyTeams app