Spurs win 14th straight, send 76ers to 25th consecutive loss with 113-91 victory

The Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan (21) is pressured by 76ers' Thaddeus Young, left, and Hollis Thompson, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 24, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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By RAUL DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs knew the Philadelphia 76ers were coming in on a long losing streak.

They had no intentions of taking it easy on them.

Austin Daye had 22 points and Tim Duncan added 19 as the Spurs earned their 14th straight win with a 113-91 victory Monday night that sent the 76ers to their 25th consecutive loss.

Philadelphia will face Houston on Thursday with the dubious distinction of being a loss shy of tying the NBA record for consecutive losses set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010-11. Before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he felt terrible for former assistant Brett Brown, now the 76ers' coach. But he added that he did not feel sorry for "one of my best friends," because pity would upset his former protégé.

"Obviously, it's a rough season for them," Duncan said. "It's a rebuilding season for them. (Brown) knows that, they know that. They have a lot of young guys. He's just trying to get the system in place that has them playing the way he wants them playing. It's a process. He knows that."

Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills scored 15 points each and Cory Joseph added 12 for San Antonio, which maintained the league's best record at 54-16. The Spurs did not play starters Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green, but did not need them against the lowly 76ers.

Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams each scored 19 points, Byron Mullens added 15 and Elliot Williams had 14 for Philadelphia (15-56).

Daye, who was averaging 2.3 minutes while playing in only four games since being acquired from Toronto on Feb. 20, finished 6-for-10 on 3-pointers and had six rebounds in 29 minutes. It was familiar to Brown, who served as an assistant under Popovich for seven seasons.

"He's lucky," Brown said, "and I've seen this over so many years — people can come into that system and shine. This system creates opportunities for everybody, and he took advantage of those. The attention you have to give others and the movement that they have in their structure allowed him to get freed up a lot.

"He reaped the benefit of playing in that system."

The Sixers kept pace early against the Spurs, with Carter-Williams fearlessly driving into the paint for a series of short jumpers and Hollis Thompson hitting a pair of 3s.

Popovich called timeout with 3:44 left in the first quarter after Williams dunked over Duncan to tie it at 19.

Philadelphia's early success awoke the Spurs and brought out the best in Daye. His athleticism and energy were just what San Antonio needed after a listless start.

"He's a skilled guy," Popovich said. "Obviously he can shoot it. But he's also a good passer. He knows how to play the game. It was good to be able to get him some time tonight."

San Antonio went on a 26-5 spurt bridging the first and second quarters, capped by a 19-0 run.

Daye first ran down Carter-Williams, swatting his layup attempt from behind, leading to Leonard's driving layup for a 23-19 lead with 3 minutes left in the opening quarter.

Mullens' 3-pointer snapped a 6 1/2-minute drought, but the Spurs were up 45-27 with 6:35 left in the first half.

Daye then stole an outlet pass on the run, driving directly at a backpedalling Mullens on a 3-on-1 break. Daye faked a behind-the-back pass to Duncan on the left and dished to Joseph on the right, who fed an open Duncan for a layup and a 47-27 lead.

"He got an opportunity," Duncan said. "He really stepped up and shot the ball really well. The boy is really long. He made some great plays defensively (and) rebounded the ball. He did a lot of good things out there."

The Spurs started Ginobili to give the team another facilitator on the court with Parker out. Ginobili did that and more, scoring seven points and grabbing two rebounds in eight minutes. He drove to the basket for a series of reverse layups, but was blocked by the rim on a one-handed dunk attempt in starting 2 for 3 from the field.