SAN ANTONIO —
San Antonio got off to a rough start as they missed three of their first four shots and Jakob Poeltl picked up two fouls in the first two minutes after jumping at Joel Embiid.
Rookie Josh Primo got his first career start and got the first Spurs bucket of the game, but the Sixers built a 9-2 lead and Drew Eubanks entered the game for Poeltl.
Bryn Forbes hit a mid-range jumper, and Dejounte Murray found Keita Bates-Diop for three. Primo struggled a bit defensively, getting beat on a cut, and in the post, and giving Embiid another and-1.
Philly quickly built a double-digit lead. Murray found Primo in the corner for three, and he looked like he knew it was good before it hit twine.
New to the team on a 10-day contract, Tyler Johnson made his Spurs debut. Lonnie Walker IV made his return from coronavirus health and safety protocols, and bounced in a pocket pass to Drew Eubanks for a dunk.
Embiid had shot 7-9 from the line by himself before San Antonio got an attempt from the stripe, indicative of his physical dominance. Seth Curry shot 6-7 from the floor, and Philly led 39-19 after the first.
Dejounte Murray opened the second with a driving and-1. Poeltl got going as a scorer, and Lonnie added a few mid-range buckets tp help cut that Philly lead into a more manageable range.
Embiid finished the first half with 21 points and 6 assists, and San Antonio had no answer for him. The Spurs trailed 71-53 at halftime.
A few things went San Antonio's way to start the second half. Dejounte finished a tough layup inside, Embiid smoked an open layup, and Primo lobbed it to KBD for a reverse layup. Murray drained a triple, and cut Philadelphia's lead to a dozen.
Murray drove for a nifty finish, then stroked another one from long range. Primo drove and dropped it off the window for two. Philly extended their advantage to 16 before Lonnie banked home a triple.
Danny Green hit a Tar Heel triple against his old team, and the Sixers led 97-80 heading to the fourth.
Primo opened the final quarter with a nice pivot fake in the paint, then grabbed a steal.
Poeltl and Landale shared the court for a bit, and Poeltl finished one roll with a pass to Landale in the corner for three before jamming it home on his next roll and making it a 99-87 game with about 10 minutes to play.
Primo poked the ball away to prevent a sure dunk, and later took a charge in transition.
Dejounte drove to the basket for a score, then sniffed out a pass and poked the ball away before cramming it at the empty basket.
Philly had a 15-point lead with five minutes left, but both Embiid and Curry looked a little banged up.
KBD hit a floater, Primo stopped a driving Embiid in transition, but Danny Green hit another three to make it a 16-point game.
Pop put his third-stringers in, including Anthony Lamb making his Spurs debut on a 10-day contract.
San Antonio lost 119-100, moving to 15-23 on the season.
The San Antonio Spurs (15-22) will visit the Philadelphia 76ers (21-16) Friday night as the Spurs continue their long 7-game road trip. The Spurs and Sixers will meet for the first time this season.
In addition, the Spurs will be without several key players due to NBA COVID protocols.
"You just deal with it," Gregg Popovich said before the game. "Sometimes you've got all your guys, sometimes you're devastated, and everything in between. That's the kind of year we're all living through, so tonight it'll be our turn."
When asked about the starting lineup, Popovich went the mysterious route.
"I don't care," he said. "Start whoever you want, I don't know half their names in there tonight."
He eventually settled on Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Josh Primo, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jakob Poeltl.
In the Spurs' previous game, the team beat Boston, 99-97 on Wednesday night.
Dejounte Murray led the team with 22 points off 11-21, shooting in his return from the NBA's Health and safety protocols. Devin Vassell finished with 17 points and Keldon Johnson ended with 13 points.
Here are five things to watch for in Friday's game:
1. The 76ers have won five-straight games and are 7-8 at home versus West teams.
2. The Sixers have five consecutive games shooting a higher 3-point percentage than their opponent.
3. The Sixers are 16-2 overall this season when leading after the third period.
4. The Spurs are 7-7 overall versus East teams this season and 3-3 versus East teams on the road.
5. The Spurs have lost five-straight games versus the Sixers and are 8-0 on the road when leading after the third.
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