The Rundown: Spurs send Sixers to third straight loss

Published October 23, 2022, 1:00 PMMiguel Flores

Despite Joel Embiid’s 40-point performance, the 76ers fell to the Spurs and slid down to 0-3 to open the season.


Spurs 114, 76ers 105

Pacers 124, Pistons 115

Celtics 126, Magic 120

Heat 112, Raptors 109

Cavaliers 128, Bulls 96

Bucks 125, Rockets 105

Mavericks 137, Grizzlies 96

Nuggets 122, Thunder 117

Clippers 111, Kings 109

What went down

The Philadelphia 76ers probably expected some rough patches to start the season. They did face the Boston Celtics on opening day then the Milwaukee Bucks a few days after. Going 0-2 against two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference was not going to set off any alarms.

But losing to the San Antonio Spurs in your home opener? That's a different story.

Granted, the Philadelphia home crowd was sparse as the Phillies were playing in Game 4 of the MLB NLCS right across the street. The Phillies, who ended an 11-year postseason drought,  have been the feel-good story of baseball since the start of October, and the starving Philadelphia crowd have sold out all their games this playoffs. 

So the Spurs came into Wells Fargo Center determined. They were young but organized, and they never flinched even as Joel Embiid dominated the paint for 40 points. Philly didn't do themselves any favors, playing inconsistent defense while James Harden struggled from the field. The Beard finished with 12 points on 4-for-18 shooting.

The Spurs, on the other hand, stuck around until the start of the fourth quarter, when they blitzed the Sixers with a 12-2 run that put the game out of reach. Call them rebuilding, but their current pieces have looked good to start the season. Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson finished with 22 and 21 points, respectively, while Jakob Poeltl and Tre Jones also had solid lines.

Realistically, this might be the biggest win the young Spurs can get all season. This should, however, give them confidence in their players at hand. For the Sixers, they should be lucky they have the Phillies and the undefeated Eagles putting a smoke screen of delight for their early struggles.

Big-time baller

This is the time of the year when we marvel at Giannis Antetokounmpo and how easy he makes uncommon things look.

The Greek Freak easily launched himself into the paint over and over again, barely facing resistance from the Houston Rockets. When the dust settled, everyone’s favorite seven-syllable MVP had 44 points, missing just three of his 21 shots, and 12 rebounds.

Jayson Tatum also gets a nod after hanging 40 points on 14-for-21 shooting on the Orlando Magic. Tatum and the Celtics are off to a great start, winning all three of their games.

What he said

Yesterday, the Phoenix Suns were trailing the Portland Trail Blazers, 113-111, with less than two seconds remaining and Deandre Ayton at the free throw line. Future Hall of Famer and current smack talk GOAT Damian Lillard approached Ayton and seemingly said something to the big man. The former No. 2 overall pick ended up missing both charities, giving the Blazers the win in their home opener.

When asked what he was trying to accomplish, Lillard told reporters hours after the game that he was simply being inquisitive.

Did you see that?

ESPN’s Baxter Holmes came out with an interesting story on Adam Silver’s take on tanking.

Silver has never been amicable to teams purposely losing. According to Holmes’ piece, Silver has considered the idea of relegation, which would result in the worst team being sent to the G League, ala football in Europe.

"None of us can remember going into a season where there was a perception of so much competition, but, still, the goal is to have 30 competitive teams, not 20, or whatever it is, so think we do pay attention to the dilution factor," Silver reportedly told Phoenix Suns employees in a recent visit with the team.

Tanking has been a hot button topic again with French dynamo Victor Wembanyama set to enter the 2023 Draft. Wembanyama is 7-foot-3 with the defensive instincts and offensive capability that could alter a franchise’s trajectory.