SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers accomplished a series of rare feats against the Spurs.
They won in San Antonio, swept the season series against the five-time NBA champions and made the Spurs look bad while doing so.
Ben Simmons scored 21 points, Joel Embiid had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Philadelphia held the Spurs to a season-low point total in a 97-78 victory Friday night, snapping a 13-game losing streak in San Antonio.
The 76ers celebrated afterward, cheering in the locker room and singing along as music played loudly in the background as they dressed to leave the AT&T Center.
“We’re happy, we won,’’ Simmons said. “We’re playing well. We’re playing good team basketball.’’
They had reason to celebrate.
The 76ers became just the second Eastern Conference team in three years to sweep a season series from the Spurs, joining the Pacers, who completed the feat Sunday.
San Antonio had not lost at home to Philadelphia since 2004, but the 76ers didn’t have a healthy Embiid and Simmons before. The 76ers opened a double-digit lead they would never relinquish with 1:35 left in the first quarter, extending the lead to as many as 25 points.
“The old Sixers, the old Sixers,’’ Simmons said when asked about the losing streak. “We’ve got to come in with a new mentality and we’ve got to leave the past and play the way we play.’’
Simmons added seven assists and five rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points for San Antonio, which lost for just the fourth time at home this season.
The Spurs set season lows for total points and points in any half, and matched their season worst in the first quarter.
“If I was a San Antonio fan tonight, I’d ask for my money back,’’ Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
San Antonio’s only lead was 5-3 on Pau Gasol’s dunk three minutes into the game.
Gasol finished with 11 points and Dejounte Murray had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Sixers used their athleticism and length aggressively, applying full-court pressure early to disrupt the Spurs’ offense and quickly rotating their defenders.
“Philadelphia was great. They were physical. Brett’s got them really executing well and playing with confidence and they did it at both ends of the floor,’’ Popovich said, referring to coach Brett Brown, his former assistant.
After matching a season low for points in the first quarter with 13, the Spurs had a season-worst 31 points in the half. San Antonio was 0 for 10 on 3s and shot 35 percent overall in the first 24 minutes.