The Philadelphia 76ers made about as bad a first impression possible on Jerry Colangelo's initial day as a team advisor.
Coming off a 51-point loss at home, the stumbling 76ers visit the site of one of their two road wins of this calendar year in Thursday night's matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.
Hours after being introduced as the team's new chairman of basketball operations, Colangelo – a four-time NBA executive of the year with Phoenix and current chairman of USA Basketball – saw a first-hand account of the Sixers' extensive rebuilding job during Monday's embarrassing 119-68 loss to San Antonio. The 51-point margin of defeat was the fifth-largest in franchise history.
The Spurs shot 61.8 percent and led by 44 points after three quarters despite resting Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
“We played against a team that is the best defensive team in the NBA as we speak and we felt every bit of that,” said coach Brett Brown, a former Spurs assistant. “I'm going to push this game aside and that's really all I have to say about this game.”
Philadelphia (1-21) now heads back to the road, where it's lost 17 straight and 33 of 34 since a 90-88 win at Barclays Center on Jan. 9. The Sixers, 0-12 as the visitor this season, had dropped their first five games in Brooklyn.
Owners of the Eastern Conference's second-worst record, the Nets (6-15) aren't nearly on the level of the powerful Spurs. However, they've won three of five and improved to 5-1 in their last six at home after Tuesday's 110-105 decision over Houston.
The Nets had one of their best all-around performances in completing a season sweep of the Rockets. Brooklyn shot a season-high 55.6 percent, had three players score at least 20 points and forced 24 turnovers.
Brook Lopez finished with 24 points and Joe Johnson tied a season high with 22 while scoring 15 in the fourth quarter.
''That's what Joe does,'' Lopez said. “We know we can go to him time and time again in the crunch time. He's going to deliver.''
Thaddeus Young added 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double. The former 76er is averaging 21.0 points and 12.3 rebounds over that stretch.
Young had 21 points and nine rebounds in a 94-87 win in Philadelphia on March 14 that gave Brooklyn a 3-1 advantage in the 2014-15 season series.
Lopez, averaging 21.5 points over his last eight, gets his first head-to-head matchup with Jahlil Okafor, who looked rusty in returning to the court Monday. The rookie center, suspended two games by the 76ers for his involvement in a nightclub fight in Boston following a Nov. 25 loss to the Celtics, made 3 of 14 shots for 10 points.
Robert Covington had 13 points against San Antonio and is averaging 17.1 during a nine-game stretch. The third-year small forward is shooting 45.8 percent (22 for 48) from 3-point range over his last six.
Philadelphia shot 40.2 percent from 3 during a five-game sequence that preceded Monday's 4-for-24 effort.
- Brook Lopez
- Brooklyn Nets
- Jahlil Okafor
- Joe Johnson
- Kawhi Leonard
- Manu Ginobili
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Robert Covington
- San Antonio Spurs
- Thaddeus Young
- Tim Duncan