It's the morning after. You've had your chance to go out and celebrate. You've had your chance to buy rounds for all your fellow Sixer fans. And now you've had your chance to soak in the apparent fact that our very own Sixers just beat the Spurs inside the Wells Fargo Center for the ninth time in 11 tries.
The Spurs came in to town touting the NBA's best record while riding a four game win streak. With this team playing some of their best basketball in recent years, it would not be unreasonable to expect anything less than a double-digit margin. On the contrary, the Sixers locked down on the perimeter and got a much needed offensive explosion from the likes of point guard Jrue Holiday.
The start of the game was going the way of the Sixers as Holiday connected on his first four field goal attempts within the first six minutes. On the defensive end, tough perimeter defense lead to the Spurs having to settle for too many contested jumpers. A negative for them, yes, but a positive for the Sixers as they flourished in getting out in transition.
With the degree of scoring threats the Spurs have in Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the defensive effort from the guards had to be on a different level. Andre Iguodala and Holiday were there to answer. Ginobili and Parker combined for just 17 points on 20 shots, going 0-5 from beyond the arc (all attempts taken by Manu). The biggest of those misses came with the Sixers up 2 with under a minute left in the game.
Ginobili received the ball at the top of the key and looked to break Andre down. Andre stuck on Manu like glue (make a Sugarland reference here if you wish) and forced him to take an off-balanced shot that had no prayer of finding its way in the net. It's reasons like this that allow Andre to be an effective player even when he's not scoring. His jumper was miserably off (finished 2-15) but he was putting forth an outstanding defensive effort on the Spurs' all-star.
Where Dre's game failed, Holiday succeeded. After the initial four jumpers, Holiday connected at a 50% clip, knocking down 5 of his next 10 attempts. Holiday combined for just 26 points the previous 4 games but broke out in a huge way against the Spurs finishing with 27. After a huge fourth quarter three ball, Holiday sealed the game in a way that we've seen Louis Williams be ineffective; with free throws.
The end of game combination of Iguodala's shut down defense and Jrue's Fruity Pebbles inspired jump shot allowed the Sixers to throw the NBA world off of its proverbial axis.
The Spurs aren't a team that is known to take nights off against inferior teams (not like the Lakers). They lost just one game all year against a sub .500 team (Clippers). Kudos to the Sixers defensive effort and the amiable rebounding coming from Elton Brand. Tonight was a case where the victory came from the defensive end. Stop=Bucket=Stop (Thanks Derek).
Player of the Game: Jrue Holiday
Next Up: T'Wolves on Saturday (tonight) at 8:00 PM in Minnesota
Important Dongaila Update: Dong got first quarter minutes with the absence of Collins' go-to veteran Tony Battie. He looked incredibly awkward on the floor and even missed a less than attractive jump shot attempt. (h/t duckyninja for the reminder)