SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The 76ers count on Lou Williams for scoring.
His role is simple - putting points on the board - and he has been so effective that he's become a focal point of opposing teams' scouting reports.
Entering Saturday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs, Williams was averaging 14.8 points in 23.2 minutes a game.
Those numbers include his previous two games, in which he was hindered by a left-shoulder injury suffered in the second half of Wednesday night's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Williams scored only six points against the Thunder, and only two points two nights later against the Dallas Mavericks.
Still, in averaging less than half a game of playing time, Williams is the team's second-leading scorer and is third in assists with 3.3 a game.
"When he took that hit, a big part of his game is getting in there and drawing fouls and getting contact," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "I just didn't think he had that much aggressiveness. Against the Spurs, we're going to need him to come in and do what he does."
The coach continued: "When you talk to people about our team, they're game-planning for Lou Williams. When he comes in the game, they're saying, 'We cannot let that guy get off and have a big game.' He's a big part of what we do coming off that bench. We need him to get that back."
So far this season, Collins has closely monitored the minutes of veteran center Tony Battie, who has proven himself effective.
Battie is shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and averaging 3.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12.0 minutes a game.
For the Sixers, he has provided the interior defense so consistently lacking.
Before Saturday night's game, Battie said he was healthy enough to do more.
"I need to have a sit-down with [Collins] and talk to him, because I feel that I could probably give more," Battie said. "But at the same time, I know he's the coach, he's the captain of the ship, so he's going to do things how he sees fit."
Former La Salle University guard Gary Neal is in his rookie season with the Spurs. Neal has played in all seven of San Antonio's games, averaging 6.7 points in 11.3 minutes a game.
Neal, who was the 2003-04 Atlantic Ten Conference rookie of the year, was dismissed from the Explorers during a rape scandal before the 2004-05 season. Neal was acquitted and transferred to Towson University.
In the 2007 NBA draft, Neal went undrafted; he spent the next three seasons playing in Italy, Spain, and Turkey.
Comcast SportsNet color commentator Eric Snow still had not recovered by Saturday from an illness that kept him from working the previous night. For the second consecutive game, Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski joined play-by-play man Marc Zumoff to call the game.
Before the game, Collins said there was some concern that small forward Andre Iguodala again would be sidelined by right Achilles tendinitis, an injury that forced him to miss two games earlier in the week.
"We were concerned with Dre; his leg was a little bit sore after the game against Dallas, but he said he's OK," Collins said.
Speaking about his young backcourt of second-year point guard Jrue Holiday and rookie shooting guard Evan Turner, Collins said: "I have two very young guards that I have to treat like gold because if this franchise is going to be good and bounce back, then those two kids have to be good for us. I like what I see with them. We're digging out and we're trying to move up, and it's not easy."