SAN ANTONIO — The season sweep is complete.
The Sixers beat the Spurs, 97-78, Friday night at the AT&T Center to go a perfect 2-0 after years of struggle. They led by as many as 25 points in the surprisingly lopsided contest.
Prior to their first win of the season on Jan. 3, the Sixers had not defeated the Spurs in 12 games dating back to 2011. The victory was the Sixers’ first in San Antonio since Jan. 3, 2004.
The Spurs improved to 24-21, while the Spurs dropped to 32-19.
The Spurs were shorthanded again, just like their last meeting with the Sixers. Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management), Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion) and Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis) did not play. Still, veterans LaMarcus Aldridge (18 points, three rebounds), Pau Gasol (11 points, four rebounds) and Danny Green (five points) were in the starting lineup.
The Sixers were without two veterans as well. JJ Redick (left fibula) and Jerryd Bayless (sore left wrist) remained sidelined. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (10 points) got his fourth straight start in their absences.
• Joel Embiid recorded his fifth double-double in seven games. He posted 18 points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes.
• Ben Simmons (21 points, seven assists, five rebounds) outlined the keys to getting a win prior to the game.
“Just got to go in and play tough, be consistent, take care of the ball, and rebound,” he said. “I think we'll be fine.”
To those points, the Sixers out-rebounded the Spurs 50-36 and committed a season-low 10 turnovers, well below their season average.
• The Spurs entered the game a league-best 20-3 at home. Brett Brown emphasized to the Sixers that the Spurs are still the Spurs, especially at the AT&T Center, regardless of who isn’t playing.
• Gregg Popovich doesn’t like to lose, regardless of who he is coaching against. But in the case of Brown, who served on Popovich’s staff for more than 11 years, Popovich is happy for his success this season.
“He deserves it, the organization, the players, the owners, everybody deserves it,” Popovich said before the game. “They've gone through hell and kept their nose to the grindstone and just kept going and going on going. Now they're enjoying some of the benefits of everything that's been done along the way. Hopefully that'll continue.”
• T.J. McConnell was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game to attend his father-in-law’s funeral. The backup point guard posted five points, three rebounds and four assists (22 minutes).
• Justin Anderson made the most of early playing time. He scored eight points in seven first-half minutes. He finished the night with 12 points.
• The Sixers held the Spurs to 31 points in the first half, the lowest by any opponent this season. The lack of offense, including 0 for 10 from three, was out of character for the Spurs. Their 31 points was the fewest they have scored in the first half at home since Feb. 25, 2008.
• The Sixers will travel to Oklahoma City Friday night to continue their four-game road trip with Sunday’s matchup against the Thunder (6 p.m./ESPN).