SAN ANTONIO – Here are my key takeaways and “best” and “worst” awards from the 76ers’ 97-78 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at the AT&T Center.
— The Sixers appear to be maturing as a team. They looked nothing like the turnover-plagued squad known for squandering leads. The Sixers played with poise en route to committing a season-low 10 turnovers.
— Ben Simmons is playing like he’s upset over not being chosen for the NBA All-Star Game. He produced his second dominant performance following his all-star game snub. Simmons had a game-high 21 points on 10-for-11 shooting two nights after finishing with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists.
— Justin Anderson is playing like someone deserving of more minutes. The reserve shooting guard/small forward had 12 points in the second straight game. He logged 20 minutes in both games. On the season, he’s averaging 5.6 points in 13.4 minutes. So his production increases the more he plays.
— There’s no denying that the Spurs were undermanned. But there’s also no denying that the Sixers are the second hottest team in the NBA behind only the Golden State Warriors. They improved to 10-3 since Christmas and moved up to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.
— The Sixers did a great job on defense, especially against Danny Green. The sharpshooting Spurs guard was far from sharpshooting Friday night. He was held to five points on 1-for-7 shooting. Green missed all five of his three-point attempts. Meanwhile, the Spurs’ 78 points were the fewest they scored all season.
‘Best’ and ‘worst’ awards
— Best performance: This was a tough one, because Simmons made 10 of 11 shots. However, I gave it to Joel Embiid, who finished with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. The Sixers center’s most impressive stat was zero turnovers. He averages four per game.
— Worst performance: How could I not give this to Green? The brother looked like he didn’t belong on the court.
— Best defensive performance: This goes to Simmons. In addition to having a team-high two steals and one block, he helped to shut down the Spurs guards.
— Worst statistic: This goes to the San Antonio shooting 12.5 percent (3 of 24) on three-pointers.
— Best statistic: I had to give this to Simmons missing only one of his 11 shots.
— Worst of the worst: This goes to the Spurs’ overall performance. The Sixers dominated every area of the game. Struggling mightily, San Antonio, at times, resembled the Sixers’ 10-win squad for the 2015-16 season.