Summing it up
The Sixers visited the AT&T Center on Monday, dragging a 24-game losing streak with them. What better time to rest Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green, and kick the tires on their newest acquisition, Austin Daye? As has been the case throughout their win streak, just about everything went their way. Daye went off (see below), and the Spurs (54-16) led by double-digits over the final 34 minutes en route to their 14th straight victory — the fifth-longest streak in club history, with a good shot at tying the fourth Wednesday against Denver.
Player of the game
Given their history of turning retreads and projects into capable NBA players, it was probably only a matter of time before the Spurs squeezed something out of Daye. Making just his fourth appearance with his new club, Daye dropped in 22 points — more than his previous 15 games combined — and a career-high six 3-pointers. The best part? Popovich gave him a high five/butt slap combo after his only assist of the game, to Jeff Ayres. “It was a great feeling,” he said, presumably in a figurative sense.
The turning point
The Sixers (15-56) being the Sixers, victory was only a matter of time. But they at least gave the Spurs a challenge in the first quarter, taking several leads before tying the game up at 19 apiece. Enter a devastating 26-5 spanning the first and second quarters, removing what minute shred of hope Philly — 20 1/2-point underdogs, second largest of the NBA season at online betting site Bovada.lv — had for an upset and giving the Spurs a 21-point lead that would never dip below double-digits.
News, notes and observations
* Popovich said Parker, who was officially listed with a sore Achilles tendon, will be ready for Wednesday’s home game against Denver. He also took the opportunity, given the quality of Monday’s opponent, to give Green and Splitter rare breaks.
“I don’t want to just worry about Tim (Duncan), Tony and Manu (Ginobili),” he said. “Those guys have been playing a lot of minutes. Danny has had that wrist and Tiago has been doing yeoman’s work underneath the last two, three, four games. It was great to give his calf and his body a little bit of rest. It worked out well.”
* Daye became the eighth different Spur to lead the team in scoring this season, and nobody was less surprised than former Spurs assistant Brett Brown, who was with the team for more than a decade before leaving to take over in Philadelphia.
Having had a front-row seat for the Spurs’ evolution from low-post juggernaut to their current iteration emphasizing fluid ball and player movement, he knows as well as anyone what their system is capable of.
Summing it up