The Philadelphia 76ers will be searching for their third consecutive victory when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
The Sixers rallied from a 17-point deficit to oust the visiting New York Knicks 109-104 on Wednesday thanks in large part to Joel Embiid’s 23 points and 12 rebounds. Ben Simmons added 18 points and a season-high 13 assists, while Mike Scott knocked down four 3-pointers off the bench to help clinch the hard-fought win.
Simmons hit the first trey of his young career, but head coach Brett Brown offered high praise to his rising standout for other reasons.
“If we are all honest, that is the first legitimate three that he has taken,” Brown said. “He looked great. He’s 23 years old. He’s gone from a college four-man, to an NBA point guard, to an NBA All-Star and was rewarded with a significant contract. His progression has been pretty good, so this is a small step, but a step, towards the other pieces of his growth.”
The Sixers’ bench has been inconsistent all season, but Scott’s performance gave them a much-needed lift as they began to come back from 17 points down. James Ennis III added 11 points, and Scott’s clutch treys helped to seal the win.
“He’s sort of a silent assassin,” Brown said of Scott. “He doesn’t say much. He keeps what he has inside a lot, and he internalizes a lot of things, but he is tough. He really is built for this city. There is a physicality, an edge, that he has and to see him be rewarded for the work he puts in, making some timely threes.
“I’m very fond of him and I respect him. To see him come out and do what he did, I’m proud of him. He deserves it.”
The reeling Spurs will be looking to avoid an eighth straight loss. Their seventh consecutive defeat occurred Wednesday with a 138-132 loss on the road to the Washington Wizards.
The Spurs have dropped 10 of 12 since opening the season with three straight wins.
Four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan, the Spurs’ leading scorer this season, led eight players in double figures with 31 points on Wednesday.
During the seven-game skid, the Spurs have repeatedly fallen behind early.
“Well, we’re doing two things consistently,” Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News. “We’re giving up 10, 15 points to start, getting into a hole. And then we’re doing a great job of digging ourselves out and getting back into games. … But going down by a bundle, it’s always hard coming back, but we seem to be doing both. If we can cut out the former, maybe we can get back on the winning track.”
DeRozan missed a pair of free throws with 9.9 seconds left and the Spurs trailing by four. In the end, the result was another loss for a franchise not used to streaks like this.
“The streak that we’re on, every single game we’ve lost feels like the last game,” DeRozan said.
Point guard Patty Mills gave the Spurs a lift in his first start of the season with 16 points but ultimately went to the locker room pondering another loss.
“We’ve got to stay positive,” Mills said. “We’ve got to stick together. We’ve got to find a way and we’ll get through it.”
–Field Level Media