Sixers stun Spurs, win 77-71

By TIMOTHY PARKER
Contributor — tmarioparker@gmail.com
_______

It was a celebration in South Philly last night, as the 76ers stunned the league-best San Antonio Spurs, 77-71. (Courtesy Philly.com)

Holiday!! Celebrate!!

It’s very rare that the words of Madonna would encapsulate a Philadelphia 76ers’ game. But on a night when the Sixers took down the best team in the NBA, anything goes.

The surging and vastly improved Sixers knocked off the San Antonio Spurs 77-71 in front of a roaring Wells Fargo Center crowd, Friday night.

It wasn’t just the best team in the NBA, but it was a team (now 44-9) that was threatening the 1998 Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record in history. They were threatening to win 70 games.

But Friday night, the biggest threat was wearing a Sixers uniform. Jrue Holiday came ready to play.

Holiday was spectacular. His 27 points were pivotal to the upset victory. He jumpstarted the Sixers with 13 first quarter points and never looked back. Overall, he went 9-14 from the field, including 3-4 from three point land.

On a night where both teams couldn’t hit water from a boat, the Sixers were defensively stout and used hustle to outplay the superb, but aging Spurs.

The Spurs turned the ball over 16 times and received virtually nothing from their two star guards. Tony Parker and Mano Ginoboli confined for a dreadful 5-20 shooting from the field and together just posted 17 points.

Meanwhile, it was Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams who mirrored the efforts of Parker and Ginobili. They shot a combined 5-28.

Luckily for the Sixers, Spencer Hawes came to play – in a big way. Hawes provided a huge lift with 13 points and grabbed 8 big boards.

Defensively, Hawes was used by Tim Duncan all night long. No surprise there, but the good news for Hawes was that Duncan was underwhelming just like the rest of his teammates. Duncan ended his night with 16 points while shooting less than 50 percent from the field.

To call a strange night for the Spurs be an extreme understatement.

Though, there were many strange occurrences tonight. The Sixers wore their road red jerseys (in an effort to raise heart disease awareness). Darius Songalia had meaningful playing time. Huh? The Sixers schooled the masters of defense in defense, which coach Doug Collins will undoubtedly appreciate.

Although, it was ugly, monstrously ugly, at times.

It was also a game in which rebounding was crucial. The Spurs dominated the Sixers in offensive rebounds and won the rebounding category overall. Yet, it was Elton Brand and his 18 huge rebounds that in the end helped the Sixers come away with their biggest win of the year.

It’s a statement win that shows their latest surge has been no fluke.

It’s a win that once again poses the question – Why is Andre Iguodala still a Sixer?

It’s a win that cements confidence in a young team – who’d better keep themselves composed because they can’t afford to lose to a lowly Minnesota team Saturday night. That would make this win of non-effect.

It’s a win that put the Sixers back on Philadelphia’s sports radar.

It’s a win that has given basketball back to its city – at least for a night

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