Beating the Philadelphia 76ers is barely newsworthy these days, but the San Antonio Spurs are extending the longest winning streak in the league, reaching 14, while the Sixers are one loss away from tying the NBA record of 26. Resting key players like Tony Parker, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter didn’t help make this game even remotely close.
This is what happens when you put a team together, break it apart and leave it with hardly a lineup of worthy NBA players. Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young and Tony Wroten (out injured) probably feel more than simply betrayed or unlucky about being in a bad situation, but it isn’t helping them steer clear of becoming an All-time NBA embarrassment, which will be the case if they lose the next couple of games.
The Spurs weren’t in the forgiving mood, winning 113-91 as the lead slowly built up through the quarters, without one huge humongous run standing out. It was another opportunity for bench players who won’t see much time in the playoffs to have their stat-filling opportunity and maybe improve their standing with Popovich, like Austin Daye with 22 points, including six 3-pointers during 29 minutes of basketball.
Tim Duncan had an easy time under the basket with 19 points on 9-of-12 from the field, while Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills added 15 points each. The Spurs, on a roll of late in pretty much every thinkable way, shot 55.7% from the field with 31 assists creating 44 field goals, something no team in the NBA does. However, statistics do get inflated when playing against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Gregg Popovich, seeing his former assistant Brett Brown suffering for being a part of the most obvious tanking job in quite some time, was happy to see Daye get some time on the floor and flaunt his skills, but the most important thing for the Spurs right now isn’t feeling sorry for losing teams or former bench-mates. It’s about sustaining this winning streak and keeping it alive once the playoffs begin. The Spurs tend to be the hottest team in the league finishing the season, although it’s hard to believe they’ll remain undefeated through a run of games that includes Indiana on the road, Golden State, OKC on the road, Phoenix and the Rockets on the road.
But from “rich” men’s problems to the poorest of the poor – the Philadelphia 76ers, on the verge of making history. No one deserves to be remembered as the worst, and the Sixers have a different version of the franchise from 40 years ago to thank for – that team has the worst record in an 82-game season, but the 2013-14 Sixers will be remembered, unfavorably, quite well.
Michael Carter-Williams started this season as rookie of the year material. He still might win it, but he won’t look back at this year with fondness and smiles. He finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds; he had one huge dunk on Tim Duncan that might have meant something on a better team. But he shot 5-of-20 from the field. The sad part? Anything else he would have done wouldn’t have changed a thing.