Friday, February 11, 2011

Sixers stun Spurs in defensive-minded affair

Philadelphia - The Sixers have made a lot of progress since a dismal 3-13 start but they were still searching for that signature win against one of the NBA's top teams.

They got it Friday night in front of over 15,000 at Wells Fargo Center when Jrue Holiday broke out of a slump to score 27 points as Philadelphia outlasted the NBA's best team, the San Antonio Spurs, by a 77-71 margin in a defensive-minded affair.

Holiday, who had scored 10-or-fewer points in six of his past 10 games, hit 9-of-14 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from long range, along five rebounds and three steals for the Sixers.

"We are having fun, playing the way the game is supposed to be played," Holiday said.

His teammates, along with the Spurs, all struggled mightily offensively. Philadelphia shot just 35.4 percent in the game and garnered only 31 points in the second half but that trumped San Antonio, which shot 33.3 percent and netted only 25 points in the final two quarters.

Spencer Hawes finished with 13 points and eight boards for the Sixers while Elton Brand had eight points and matched a season-high with 17 rebounds. Andre Iguodala was just 2-of-15 from the field, finishing with seven points and six assists, but was a monster defensively, torturing Spurs MVP candidate Manu Ginobili, who scored just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting.

"A marvelous win for our team," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "For us to be able to best the best team in the league, our guys were very happy as is their old coach."

Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 16 points and 13 rebounds. DeJuan Blair added 14 boards and Gary Neal and Antonio McDyess each scored 11 points off Gregg Popovich's bench as the Spurs set new season lows in points and field percentage.

The Spurs, of course, came into the game with an NBA-best 44-8 record, just three games behind the best 52-game start in NBA history, held by the 1966-67 world champion Sixers and the '95-96 Chicago Bulls, who also won an NBA crown.

"Both teams sort of set offensive basketball back a decade or so tonight for whatever reason," Popovich said of his team which had a four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 4-2 on their nine-game rodeo road trip. "But both teams kept motoring and trying to get after it. Neither team could make a damn shot."

The Sixers get right back to work on Saturday when they visit Minneapolis to face Kevin Love and the Timberwolves.

Six Shots:

*The Sixers best their season-low (76) by just one point.

*The two teams split the home-and-home season series for a fourth straight year.

*The Sixers bench scored just 16 points , their third lowest total of the season.

*This was the first the Sixers won while scoring less than 80 points since Dec. 9, 2003. Meanwhile, the Spurs had been 12-0 when holding teams below 90 this season.

*San Antonio's first game in the NBA was also Julius Erving's first here in Philly way back on Oct. 22, 1976. The Spurs won that 121-118 as the Sixers committed a franchise record 38 turnovers.

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