SAN ANTONIO (AP) — For the third time in three nights, the San Antonio Spurs proved they know how to win short-handed.
Tony Parker scored 21 points and the Spurs, playing without Tim Duncan, beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-76 on Sunday night.
DeJuan Blair added 19 points for the Spurs, who won for the seventh time in eight games and swept the season series with the 76ers. Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
With the Spurs playing the last of back-to-back-to-back games, coach Gregg Popovich gave the 35-year-old Duncan his second day off this season. It was the third straight night San Antion played without one of its stars as Parker sat out with a hamstring injury Friday at home against the Mavericks and Ginobili missed the win at New Orleans on Saturday with a hip injury.
“They show a lot of toughness, a lot of character to do that three nights in a row with different combinations and different players playing on each night,” Popovich said. “What’s really great is that they appreciate or are happy with the success of their teammates. Whoever’s not playing isn’t hoping something bad happens so he can get in the game or anything like. They really pull for each other.”
San Antonio improved to 24-1 at home against the 76ers since the start of the 1986-87 season, winning the last eight. The 76ers’ last win in San Antonio was in 2004.
Elton Brand led the 76ers with 12 points. Jodie Meeks, starting for Iguodala, added 11 points. Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday each added 10 as Philadelphia lost for the second time in its last four games. The Sixers were also missing one of their starters — forward Andre Iguodala, who missed the game because of left patella tendinitis.
Philadelphia trailed by three points at halftime, but San Antonio’s defense helped force 14 second-half turnovers.
“They did speed us up,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “I’ll give their defense credit. They stripped us around the basket, must have been six or seven times. And once it started going south, we couldn’t get it stopped.”
It was the first game Iguodala missed this season. Collins said the team first found out about the injury earlier in the day and decided to hold him out as a precaution. He’s expected to return for Tuesday’s game against the Cavaliers.
“He does so much for us offensively and defensively,” Brand said. “He gets easy shots for everybody. His defensive presence out there … hopefully everything goes well for his knee.”
Before the game, Popovich had said that Boris Diaw, playing in only his third game for the Spurs, would start for Duncan. But Diaw came off the bench and Matt Bonner drew the start. Bonner, starting for Duncan, finished with 10 points, and Danny Green also had 10 to help the Spurs improve to 20-4 at home.
San Antonio outscored Philadelphia 41-27 in the second half and held the 76ers to 12-of-38 shooting. It was the second-fewest points the 76ers have scored in a half this season — they scored 24 in the second half in a loss to Dallas on Feb. 17.
The Spurs scored 19 points off the 76ers’ 14 second-half turnovers to cruise to victory.
“We went in at halftime and discussed our rotations and shifts,” Leonard said. “We bought into the coach’s game plan and went into the second half ready to play.”
NOTES: The Spurs’ statisticians at the AT&T Center poked some fun at Duncan, listing his line in the official box score with a “DND – OLD.” … Duncan, sitting with the Spurs’ bench, was called for a technical foul with 2:35 remaining. Joey Crawford had warned the teams earlier about arguing calls, and Josh Tiven issued the technical. Crawford ejected Duncan from a 2007 game for laughing, and the referee later was suspended. Duncan was on the bench at the time he was ejected. … Spurs G Gary Neal (left mid-foot sprain) and F Tiago Splitter (mid-back spasms) didn’t play. It was the second straight game that Neal has missed and third for Splitter.
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