Sometimes it looked like they didn't even want to try. Simmons finished the night with 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting. Simmons only made it to the free-throw line once (going 1-of-2) but it wasn't for lack of attacking the basket. Simmons has gradually become more aggressive as the season has played out and that's great news for the Sixers. In addition to his game-high points he added seven assists, five rebounds, two steals, and one block to his stat line for the night while playing excellent defense, and the Spurs did not have an answer.
The Spurs missed open looks and they started the night 0-of-14 from three-point range until making one in the final minutes of the third quarter. Every team is going to have off nights, it's just not usually expected of the Spurs on their home court where before Friday they had only lost three games. But even though San Antonio was clearly having trouble connecting, the Sixers never let up on either side of the ball. Another sign of growing maturity for the Sixers.
The Spurs were missing shots but the Sixers made things even harder on the San Antonio squad by playing excellent defense. They were quick and effective on switches, made entry passes difficult, and clogged lanes that the Spurs often go to. The Sixers finished the night with five steals, four blocks, and held the Spurs to 40 percent shooting from the field and just 3-of-24 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arc. The Spurs were also held to a season-low 78 points by the Sixers stifling defense.
Well, it wasn't so much a battle if you look at the numbers, but there were plenty of hard-nosed rebounds and battles for position that gave the Sixers the advantage on the glass. The Sixers grabbed 50 rebounds to the Spurs' 36. Not only is that good for limiting second chance points and obviously securing possession, but the Sixers, who love to play fast, have more of an opportunity for fast break points when they are winning on the boards.