76ers get blown out by Spurs in West Coast trip finale
SAN ANTONIO - They might not like the ending, but at least it's over and now the 76ers can turn the page.
The Spurs, the model of consistency in the NBA for the better part of two decades, placed six players in double-figures, built a 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter, and cruised to a 109-86 win over the overmatched and road-weary 76ers.
Spencer Hawes led the Sixers with a season-high 22 points. Jrue Holiday, who notched his second career triple-double earlier this week in a loss to Phoenix, fell short of another, finishing with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Tony Parker led a balanced San Antonio attack with 20 points. Manu Ginobili scored 19 off the bench.
The loss concluded a stretch that saw the Sixers (15-20) play 10 of their last 11 on the road. It also ended their brutal road trip against Western Conference teams. Facing their best opposition of the season, the Sixers went 2-6 on the trip, picking up wins against Memphis and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The trip featured three sets of back-to-backs, the last of which saw them fall by 24 points to Oklahoma City and 23 on Saturday.
"I've never experienced a road trip like this where we play three back-to-backs, and it started off in Brooklyn," said Holiday. "It was tough, but I think as a team we grew from it."
The Sixers' only lead Saturday was at 2-0. Before it was over, the Spurs, who began the fourth quarter leading by 20, led by as many as 25 points.
"This would have been a tall order if we had eight days rest," Sixers coach Doug Collins said "This team is as good as any team in the NBA."
The good news for the Sixers is that now they have the opportunity to try to forge a home-court advantage at the Wells Fargo Center before the all-star break next month. Just 9-7 at home, the Sixers will play 13 of their next 15 games there.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, one of those teams will be the Spurs (27-9), who Saturday toyed with the Sixers en route to beating them for the eighth straight time and for the 25th time in their last 26 meetings. The Sixers haven't won in San Antonio since Jan. 3, 2004.
Hawes, who caught an elbow above his left eye and needed four stitches to close the cut, said that the Sixers, five games below .500, must start winning games immediately at home.
"Absolutely, I think so. I think, first things first, we are all looking forward to just going home and sleeping in our own bed," said Hawes, 10 for 13 from the field. "We are looking forward to those comfortable confines and turning things around and getting back on track."
Contact John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter