Instant Replay: Spurs 109, Sixers 85

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Instant Replay: Spurs 109, Sixers 85

BOX SCORE

There is no question that the San Antonio Spurs are the gold standard in the NBA. They are on pace to win at least 50 games for a 15th consecutive season.

The Sixers were no match for the men in black during Monday's 109-85 loss to the Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center. The defeat dropped the Sixers’ record to 4-4, while the Spurs moved to 7-1.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich rested future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan because the team was playing on back-to-back nights. Clearly, the Spurs didn’t need the 37-year-old power forward on this night.

They scored 31 points in the first quarter and never looked back.

Turning point
The Spurs separated themselves from the Sixers during the final two and a half minutes of the opening period. San Antonio went on a 12-0 run to stretch a six-point lead to 18 points. That scoring spurt capped off a quarter in which the Spurs shot 53 percent, compared to 27 from the Sixers.

Follow the leader
Tony Parker controlled the game, scoring 14 points and handing out nine assists. Five other Spurs scored in double figures.

Evan Turner led the Sixers with 20 points. Spencer Hawes had his fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Stat-egic
The Sixers died on the three-point sword yet again against the Spurs.

San Antonio entered the game shooting 38 percent from behind the arc. The Spurs are averaging seven made-threes per game, and had one more than that at halftime.

By game’s end, San Antonio had made 13 of 28 from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Sixers were 5 for 19 from distance.

Take a bow
Three years ago, Danny Green played 16 games in the NBA’s Developmental League. He averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 43 percent from long range. He appeared in only eight games with the Spurs that season.

By last year, Green had found his way into the Spurs’ starting lineup and averaged 10.5 points a night.

This season, Green, the 46th overall pick in 2009, is averaging just 8.6 points per game. However, against the Sixers, the sharpshooter connected on 5 of 7 three-point attempts and finished with 18 points.

What’s next?
After Brett Brown faced his former employer Monday, president/general manager Sam Hinkie will see his former franchise when the Houston Rockets come to town on Wednesday. Hinkie worked for the Rockets for eight seasons, and was last the executive vice president of basketball operations before leaving to join the Sixers.

The Rockets are led in scoring by James Harden, who is averaging 24.7 points per game. Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double with 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds per night.

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

The Sixers on Monday acquired controlling stake in Team Dignitas and Team Apex, two eSport companies.

The companies will be combining under the Team Dignitas banner. The Sixers become the first North American sports franchise to acquire an eSports team and intend to manage the day-to-day operations of Team Dignitas.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games," Sixers managing general partner Josh Harris said in a statement. "We see our entrance into eSports as a natural extension of our expanding interests in traditional sports and entertainment and are confident that our involvement will accelerate the already rapid pace of growth in eSports as a whole.”

Team Dignitas and Team Apex have created games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Smite.

5 lingering questions as Sixers training camp begins

5 lingering questions as Sixers training camp begins

Sixers training camp begins on Tuesday and there are plenty of questions as they enter a new chapter following a 10-win season and three tumultuous years of losing.

Here are five things to keep an eye on during camp as the Sixers prepare for the 2016-17 season.

How much will Joel Embiid play?
Embiid will begin the season under restrictions. What those parameters are remain to be determined. The Sixers will continue to proceed with caution for Embiid's NBA debut after two foot surgeries in as many years. It is unlikely he will play in back-to-backs to begin the season, and minutes will be allocated as the team assesses him during camp. The restrictions will create playing opportunities for other bigs in the meantime.

Who will start?
The Sixers have to set a starting five within an unbalanced roster. The team is loaded in the frontcourt and there are only so many positions to go around. Brett Brown said Jerryd Bayless would be the starting point guard if the season began today, and Gerald Henderson appears to be the lock at two-guard. Ben Simmons is the only certainty in the frontcourt, filling the four-spot. The Sixers will have to select a small forward and a center from the plethora of bigs. Expect the starting five to change throughout the season, especially as Embiid gets more games under his belt.

How will the team be different?
The improvement in the wins and losses column is a given. Now, the team is implementing changes off the court intended to have significant effects this season. They expect the new 125,000-square-foot training complex to provide a one-stop shop for all the players' daily needs. The facility was designed so players and staff could spend most of their time there and foster relationships with one another, focus on basketball and create an environment in which they know they can improve. There is also an emphasis on what Brown described as career-best fitness. The team is looking to play uptempo, and players will be pushed to amp up their health, strength and conditioning to compete within that system.

What will Simmons' role be?
Simmons has the unique versatility to be a point-forward. At 6-foot-10, he has the size of a frontcourt player as well as the ball handling skills and court vision of a point guard. There will be times when Simmons is tasked with running the floor. However, Brown has said point guard is the most challenging position and he does not want to throw Simmons into that right away. The Sixers bolstered their depth by adding Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez. Simmons will manage the floor at times, but it won't be his main responsibility.

How will the Noel situation play out?
There are too many bigs. That was the case last season with Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor and the issue still remains, only now Simmons, Embiid and Dario Saric are also in the mix. Noel expressed his uneasiness of the situation to the Philadelphia Inquirer (see story). There is a lingering logjam that has to be sorted out with a trade this season. Who is moved remains to be seen.

For more hot topics, check out the CSNPhilly.com Give and Go series.