By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 38 points and 12 rebounds, and the 76ers withstood a late attack to beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109 on Sunday.
It was Embiid’s 14th straight game with at least 25 points.
“What he’s doing is special,” Philadelphia forward Tobias Harris said. “We trust him night after night. He is the anchor of our team. The anchor of our offensive flow out there. I thought tonight you did a great job of cracking the game. Really getting everyone involved in their spots and still being able to get the shots he wanted.”
Harris added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Furkan Korkmaz had 17 points for the 76ers. Philadelphia has won seven straight over San Antonio.
Jakob Poeltl had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Dejounte Murray added 19 points and 12 assists for the Spurs.
After dropping as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, the Spurs pulled within 111-109 on Murray’s steal and breakaway layup with 33.2 seconds remaining as part of an 8-4 run. Embiid would seal the victory with a pair of free throws with 14.9 seconds remaining.
“They had their chances at the end,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “But you make it very difficult when you see someone a quarter, and we did it again. Same thing the last time we played against them.”
Coming off a 40-point performance Friday in a one-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Embiid shot 16 of 32 from the field in 32 minutes.
“It’s hard to score,” Poeltl said. “We try to make it as difficult as possible with our team’s defense on him.”
Philadelphia won its fourth in six games despite losing some key players.
In addition to continuing to be without All-Star forward Ben Simmons, the 76ers had four players injured, including Seth Curry and Danny Green.
Philadelphia held San Antonio to 31 percent shooting to build a 41-29 lead.
The Spurs bounced back, closing out the game shooting 48% from the field, but were only 10-of-30 from 3-point range.
“We still had too many defensive mistakes in the fourth quarter,” Harris said. “We have to clean that up. We have to be able to really take a stand and stand there.”
76ers: Embiid scored 31 points in Philadelphia’s 119-100 win over San Antonio on Jan. 8. … Curry missed his second straight game with sore left ankle. … Green has missed six straight games with a right hip injury. … Matisse Thybulle has missed five straight since spraining his right shoulder. … Shake Milton did not play due to a back contusion. …The 76ers are 17-9 on the road.
Spurs: San Antonio assistants Becky Hammon, Mitch Johnson and Darius Songaila remain outside of the league’s health and safety protocols. … Poeltl posted his 16th double-double, topping last season’s total of 15. … The Spurs recalled F Zach Collins from his G League assignment, but he remains out as he recovers after last playing in an NBA game on Aug. 15, 2020. Collins’ last played against Memphis while he was with Portland before leaving seven minutes into its start due to left ankle inflammation. Collins underwent surgery on December 30, 2020, to repair a stress fracture in his left foot and needed a second surgery on June 29, 2021, after refracturing it. … Murray had 48 points, 24 assists and 22 rebounds in his previous two games, earning triple-doubles in both. The Spurs are 9-14 at home.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers has fond memories of his two seasons playing for the Spurs beginning in 1995, but he did joke about some unpleasant moments.
Rivers came off the bench for the first time in his career while with San Antonio. He really enjoyed doing it, except when he was asked to be a defensive stopper.
“I loved it until Vinny Del Negro set the guy on fire and then they told me to go stop him,” Rivers said. “We used to call him Vinny Kerosene some nights because he’d come in and say, ‘The guy’s on fire. Do I have to protect it? We would laugh about it.”
UNTIL NEXT TIME
76ers: Host New Orleans on Tuesday.
Spurs: In Houston on Tuesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism