Spurs pull away late to overcome sluggish start, escape upset ax against Sixers
Manu Ginobili and the Spurs battled through a tough Sixers stand early. AP

THE San Antonio Spurs pulled away late to overcome a sluggish first half and avoid an upset against the Philadelphia 76ers, 102-86, at the AT&T Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

With both teams missing a few key players, San Antonio and Philadephia slugged it out in a tight battle early, with the Sixers even hanging on to a 53-48 lead at the break.

Philadelphia led by as much as seven early in the third before San Antonio went on a 13-1 run to take control and never look back. The Spurs closed the quarter strong to take a 79-73 lead to the fourth, where San Antonio locked down on defense some more and unleashed an 11-2 blitz late to take the fight out of the Sixers.

Seven Spurs (38-11) scored in double figures, led by Kawhi Leonard who had 19 points. Dewayne Dedmon added 13, while Davis Bertans, David Lee, Danny Green, and Patty Mills all chipped in 12 apiece.

Ersan Ilyasova led all scorers with 25 points and 10 rebounds but the Sixers, who were without Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, fell to 18-31 after their second straight loss in a four-game road trip. Dario Saric added 14 markers.

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