SAN ANTONIO — Joel Embiid had 34 points and 12 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the undermanned San Antonio Spurs 113-111 in overtime Sunday night.
Ben Simmons tipped in the game-winner off a miss from Embiid as time expired. Embiid had four points in overtime, all on free throws.
“I knew Joel was going to get a good look,” Simmons said. “We trust him with those shots. I was just there to clean it up.”
Seth Curry scored 22 points and Dwight Howard added 14 as Philadelphia won its fourth straight to remain atop the Eastern Conference. Simmons finished with five points, six rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes.
Lonnie Walker IV had 23 points to lead the Spurs, who lost their third straight. Keldon Johnson added 19 points, Rudy Gay had 18 and Gorgui Dieng 17.
San Antonio was without four starters as Dejounte Murray and Derrick White missed the game due to injuries and DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl sat out for rest.
“I am just really excited for how hard we are playing,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I just hope they continue to believe in themselves because they have had kind of a tough road.”
San Antonio tied the game at 102 on Gay’s 3-pointer with 2:37 remaining in regulation. The Sixers reclaimed the lead on the ensuing possession with a 3-pointer by Curry only to watch Johnson hit another game-tying 3.
Embiid and Johnson muscled their way into the lane to keep the game tied at 107 with 1:03 remaining. After Matisse Thybulle blocked Patty Mills’ 3-point attempt, Embiid missed a fade-away jumper from 15 feet to send the game to overtime.
“We haven’t been in this situation in a while as a full team,” Curry said. “So, it’s stuff we can look at. Coaches can look at the film and figure some stuff for us down the line.”
Both teams struggled offensively in overtime, combining to score just nine points on 3-for-11 shooting.
Simmons was 1 for 5 shooting before tipping in the game-winner. While he struggled offensively, Simmons drew a pair of charges against Johnson in overtime.
“I thought those two charges were the biggest plays of the game,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.
IN THE MOMENT
Sunday’s game in San Antonio was the start of five games in seven days for Philadelphia.
Even though the Spurs were missing four starters, Rivers chose not to rest anyone. He was asked what factors into his decision to rest players and if the standings play a part.
“Just our health,” Rivers said. “We want to keep guys healthy at the end of the day. We want to win games. We want to get them the proper amount of rest. We obviously have a plan on what we want to do, and so we’ll follow it. We’re not going to look at the standings or anything like that to decide what we’re going to do; I can say that.”
76ers: Former Spurs guard Danny Green received a warm welcome from the limited capacity crowd. Green spent eight seasons with San Antonio beginning in 2011 before being traded to Toronto in 2018 along with Kawhi Leonard for DeRozan and Poeltl. … The Sixers had no injuries to report. … Howard had three blocks, including a pair in the first quarter were the Spurs essentially ran into his outstretched arms.
Spurs: Murray missed the game with a sore left knee. Popovich was asked if the issue was minor, Popovich said “I hope so and I think so.” … Playing in his 1,000th career game, Gay passed Buck Williams to enter the top 100 scorers in league history. Gay has scored 16,794 points since joining the league in 2007 with Memphis. … Tre Jones had four points, three assists and two rebounds in his first career start.
76ers: At the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Spurs: At the Utah Jazz on Monday.