SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs came into this game against the Sixers without four normal starters and fell behind by 17 points early, but clawed all the way back to force overtime where they lost a heartbreaker 113-111 on a tip-in at the buzzer.
San Antonio struggled to slow Joel Embiid, who finished with 34 points and 12 rebounds. Lonnie Walker IV led the way for the Silver & Black with 23 points, while Gorgui Gieng, Rudy Gay, and Keldon Johnson all scored over 17.
Lonnie Walker IV
Spurs fall to Sixers at overtime buzzer
Joel Embiid got to the line to start the overtime, but San Antonio's defense stepped up.
Keldon Johnson went to the basket on Embiid, used an up-and-under move to score through him. He missed the free throw that would've given the Spurs their first lead.
Embiid looked like he beat the shot clock with a post jumper, but the ball was on his fingertips and the score came off the board.
Johnson drove in and drew a foul on Embiid, his fifth. Philly challenged and won, resulting in a jump ball that they also won.
Simmons drove, but turned it over under the basket. Johnson went right at Embiid again in transition, but couldn't finish and didn't get the whistle.
Embiid posted up and got to the line, hitting both for a two-point Philly lead with about a minute and a half left. Lonnie Walker IV was short on a jumper, but the Sixers missed the next.
Keldon drove, but Simmons got his feet set and took a charge with 1:08 left. Pop burnt his last timeout on an unsuccessful challenge.
The Spurs got a stop, but Rudy Gay threw it away out of bounds. Luckily, Joel Embiid turned it over in the post.
On the other end, Gay made up for his mistake by driving on Embiid and hitting an old-timey scoop layup to tie it again.
On the last possession, Embiid missed in the post but Ben Simmons skied in a fraction of a second before the buzzer, tipping the ball that was apparently just outside the cylinder in for the win, 113-111.
Lonnie Walker IV opened the fourth with a finger roll, giving him 20 points on the game. Patty Mills drilled a triple, then Luka Samanic drove for a huge dunk that fired his teammates up.
Gorgui Dieng dove on the floor for a loose ball, Keita Bates-Diop recovered it and beat the shot clock. Samanic grabbed an offensive board and put it back up, drawing a goaltend and cutting Philadelphia's lead down to 94-90.
Lonnie found Eubanks for a hook shot over Embiid, then Walker pulled up and drained a jumper. Tre Jones drove in for a floater, and the Spurs trailed just 100-98.
Lonnie hit a dead ball free throw, then Rudy Gay drilled a three off the bounce to tie it at 102.
Seth Curry answered from deep, but Keldon Johnson tied it at 105.
Joel Embiid came back down and posted up to go up a deuce. Lonnie missed a triple, Keldon got it back and put it up and in past Embiid to knot things again at 107.
The Spurs opened the second half with each rookie scoring to cut the Philadelphia lead down to 61-56. Then, the Sixers ripped off a 13-2 run to push the lead back to 16.
Drew Eubanks threw down a hammer dunk on a feed from Rudy Gay, who hit from mid-range. Keldon Johnson stole a bad pass and crammed a transition dunk. A corner three by Gorgui Dieng put him in double-figure scoring and briefly cut it to single digits.
Danny Green answered with a pair of triples to push it back to 15. Keldon eurostepped in for a layup, Dieng hit another three, and the lead got back down to 10.
Lonnie Walker IV caught at half court in transition, hit the jets and drove for a silky layup. The Spurs trailed 89-79 heading to the fourth.
Gorgui Dieng laid one up to start the quarter, then swiped a steal and took it coast to coast for a jam.
Drew Eubanks came in and got a few buckets as well, and San Antonio's defense improved greatly over their first quarter performance.
Keldon Johnson continued to show encouraging playmaking flashes, scoring from the mid-range and finding teammates in dirty areas.
Rudy Gay drilled a three on a feed from Johnson, then stole it and dunked it in transition.
Lonnie Walker IV made a nice back cut, took it across the key at Danny Green, and dunked all over him with the left.
He came down and took it to the rim strong again, finishing with a jelly roll. The next possession, he hit a three off a screen to make it a one-possession game.
Seth Curry and Danny Green each hit a three, pushing the Philly lead back to nine. The Spurs trailed 61-52 at the break.
Philly built an 18-8 lead behind a dominant 13 points from Joel Embiid. Not many people can slow him down in the post, and Drew Eubanks had an especially tough time filling in for Jakob Poeltl.
Keldon Johnson and Rudy combined for 10 early points, and Gorgui Dieng came off the bench and drilled a triple. Lonnie Walker IV drove in for a floater to make it 22-17 Sixers.
Seth Curry made a three, then Dwight Howard missed his first three tip in attempts before finally finishing the fourth. Curry made another three, putting Philly up 30-17.
The Sixers built their lead to 17, but a three from Lonnie, a spinning drive by Luka Samanic, and another Walker triple cut it back to single digits.
San Antonio trailed 37-27 after a quarter.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers
When, where: Sunday, 7 p.m., San Antonio.
All-time series record: Spurs lead 58-40
Last season: Sixers won 2-0
Season series: Sixers lead 1-0
Last meeting: Spurs lost 134-99, March 14, 2021
76ers' last game: Lost vs. Bulls, 110-102
Spurs' last game: Won vs. Wizards, 146-143 (OT)
76ers' last 10 games/streak: 6-4, won 3
Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 5-5, lost 2
76ers' injury/inactive report: None
Spurs' injury/inactive report: Dejounte Murray, OUT (knee); DeMar DeRozan, OUT (rest); Jakob Poeltl, OUT (rest); Derrick White, OUT (ankle); Trey Lyles, OUT (ankle).
The San Antonio Spurs will be without four normal starters when they take on the 76ers at home on Sunday.
Derrick White is likely out for the rest of the year with an ankle sprain, and Dejounte Murray is resting a sore left knee. Both DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl will get the night off for rest as coach Gregg Popovich tries to make sure his players have enough juice to finish strong in a tough schedule. It's also an opportunity to give the young guys extended minutes.
Rookie Tre Jones will get the first start oh his NBA career, starting alongside Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Rudy Gay, and Drew Eubanks.
"It's always great to watch guys develop, and a lot of young guys have gotten a lot of minutes, and they've done a good job," Popovich said before the game. "It's a continuing process, but it bodes well for the future."