Aldridge's double-double lifts Spurs over 76ers
SAN ANTONIO (AP) The Philadelphia 76ers are winless, but they gave San Antonio a scare just as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expected.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 19 rebounds to help the Spurs hold off a late charge and beat the Philadelphia 76ers 92-83 on Saturday night.
The loss was the 76ers' 10th straight to open their season and 20th overall dating back to last season.
San Antonio has won four straight and is 3-0 at home, but Popovich knew it wouldn't be easy against his friend and former longtime assistant, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown.
''They are going to play from minute one to 48 with the same standard, the same hustle, the same camaraderie,'' Popovich said. ''It's really a tribute to their character and Brett Brown as a coach. He just does a fantastic job.''
Philadelphia rookie center Jahlil Okafor had 21 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double. Nerlens Noel, returning after a two-game absence due to a sore wrist, was limited to six points and three rebounds.
Tony Parker scored 16 points and Tim Duncan added 15 for San Antonio.
The Spurs led by as many as 19 points, but could never put the 76ers away decisively.
San Antonio was without Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, but their absence wasn't felt against a young Philadelphia squad until the final minutes
Okafor scored seven points during a 14-2 run that pulled Philadelphia within 87-83 with three minutes remaining.
''You have to give them credit, they made it hard until the end,'' Parker said. ''That's just Brett Brown's team, they're always in games.''
The Spurs forced three straight turnovers following that run to seal the victory, handing the 76ers losses in back-to-back nights following a 102-85 loss in Oklahoma City on Friday.
''We have to make a few more plays,'' Okafor said. ''We turned the ball over. We know what we did wrong, we're going to watch film and try correct those things when we come into tight situations.''
Parker, who was playing with a heavy heart, played only eight minutes in the second half.
San Antonio played France's National Anthem after a moment of silence before tipoff to honor the victims of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris. Parker and Boris Diaw are both from France.
''It's unbelievable,'' Parker said. ''All my prayers go to the families of the victims. It's tough.''
Parker scored 12 points in the first half and finished the game 5-for-10 shooting with three assists and four turnovers.
''It helped me think about something else,'' Parker said. ''For the past 24 hours, I've just spent my time calling family and friends to make sure they're OK.''
76ers: Noel, who has a team-high four double-doubles this season, was limited to 2-for-8 shooting. ... Philadelphia had six players out with injury, including C Joel Embiid. The 7-foot Embiid is expected to miss the season following a second surgery on his right foot, but he is listed as right foot injury. ... Philadelphia's last victory against San Antonio came at home on Feb. 11, 2011.
Spurs: Leonard and Ginobili both missed their first game of the season. Leonard, who leads San Antonio in scoring at 21.9 points, had an upper respiratory infection. Ginobili sat out with a strained abductor. ... Second-year player Kyle Anderson made his first start of the season in place of Leonard. Anderson, who started eight games last season, had 10 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes. ... San Antonio recalled Jonathon Simmons from its Development League affiliate prior to Saturday's game.
76ers: At Dallas on Monday.
Spurs: Host Portland on Monday.
Okafor was anxious to play against Duncan, who the 6-foot-11 center has said was his favorite player growing up.
''It's a surreal feeling playing against a guy you idolized,'' Okafor said. ''We're in here in the locker room drawing up the game plan and you see who is guarding who and you see Duncan and you see my name saying I'm going to stick him. It's just a weird feeling.''
Duncan had five blocked shots to become the franchise leader with 2,955 blocks, surpassing former teammate David Robinson's career total of 2,954.
''It's a skill,'' Popovich said. ''It's great timing. He's got length. He cares. He moves. He has just got unbelievable timing more than anything.''
Duncan also moved into fifth all-time in the league. Former Utah center Mark Eaton is fourth with 3,064 blocks.