Game Preview | Year In, Year Out, Spurs Present Tough Test
The San Antonio Spurs (26-12) will be wrapping up a three-game Eastern Conference road trip with Wednesday’s stop in South Philadelphia. The turnaround will be a quick one for the perennial Western Conference title contenders, which were in action Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, where they posted a 100-91 win over the New York Knicks.
Seven games into his return from a quad injury, Kawhi Leonard had his most productive performance yet, finishing with season-highs of 25 points (8-20 fg, 3-8 3fg), 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. He has been ruled out for rest on the second night of a back-to-back.
Another scratch for the Spurs is Rudy Gay. The off-season acquisition is averaging 11.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season, but sustained a heel injury last week. Manu Ginobili (rest), Danny Green (tightness, left groin), and Tony Parker (return from injury management) will all be held out Wednesday as well.
Signed to a three-year extension over the summer, LaMarcus Aldridge paces San Antonio with 22.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. The scoring mark is the highest for the five-time All-Star since he left Portland three years ago.
Entering Wednesday’s contest, the Spurs ranked fifth in the NBA in net rating (3.8), and second in defensive rating (101.4). Regardless of who from their roster is available or isn’t, the Sixers realize a challenge awaits, with San Antonio positioned third out West.
“You have to be on top of your game to beat them,” said JJ Redick. “They’re going to not make many mistakes, and when you make a mistake, they make you pay for it. We have to be great with taking care of the ball, and playing without fouling.”
Joel Embiid has been listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s outing. The Sixers posted a victory without the dominant center Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.
“I think winning shorthanded in Denver was big for us,” said Redick, whose squad has prevailed in three of its past four games. “I think we’ve played well, and have started to hopefully build a little momentum and identity in how we’re going to play.”
The Spurs have notched 12 consecutive wins over the Sixers.
• Video: NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBC Sports Philadelphia app
• Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network