San Antonio got 21 points from Tony Parker and used a 20-4 run between during the third and fourth quarters to gain control of the game and beat the 76ers, 93-76, Sunday night. The Sixers played without Andre Iguodala due to patella knee tendinitis, while the Spurs did not dress Tim Duncan and officially listed the reason as "old."
The Spurs got off to a fast start behind DeJuan Blair (19 points, six rebounds) and Matt Bonner (10 points, eight in first quarter) but the Sixers stormed back with a 14-1 run by their vaunted bench to start the second quarter. Recently acquired Sam Young provided four points, four rebounds, two steals and a block to provide the energy for the Philly run.
San Antonio righted the ship to get back the lead before halftime and then spent the the beginning of the second half building the lead further behind their starting five. This time, however, when it came time for the bench crews to battle, the Spurs changed it up by resting Parker earlier in the third quarter and bringing him back before the quarter ended to run the second team.
The result was the big run that negated the usual Philly strength, their bench, and the 20-4 Spurs advantage over the 10-1/2 minutes of play into the heart of the fourth quarter put the game away for the Spurs. At the epicenter of the run was the play of Blair, who tipped, floated and boarded his team ahead. Blair's physical presence was hyper-present and the Sixers offered little resistance to the attack.
Philadelphia's offense ran ice cold in the fourth quarter, missing point blank shots as well as the tough ones, shooting 4-for-21 in the game's final quarter to cap a woeful 27-point second half for the Sixers.
The loss was the 24th in 25 games (since 1986-1987) in San Antonio for the 76ers, whose only win occurred in 2004 during that run.
The win completed a sweep of the back-to-back-to-back stretch for the Spurs who, along with the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night, joined the short list of teams to accomplish the feat this year.
As he has done during his rookie season, Kawhi Leonard quietly played his solid all-around game and finished with his fourth double-double of the season (11 points, 10 rebounds).
In crediting a particular reason for the Spurs win, MatthewTynan at Pounding the Rock says it's the defense, stupid:
For the second straight night, however, it hasn't been the high-octane Spurs offense pulling away from the opposition. They allowed just 76 points to the 76ers (heh) after giving up only 27 second-half points and 11 in the fourth quarter. San Antonio had a streak of eight straight games scoring 104 points or more prior to tip against New Orleans on Saturday night, but in the previous two games it's been the defense coming up huge. It's difficult not to win when your defense gives up only 76 points.
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For all of Sunday's box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.