Mismatch on tap as Sixers visit Spurs

Sixers coach Brett Brown spent 12 seasons with the Spurs in San Antonio.
Sixers coach Brett Brown spent 12 seasons with the Spurs in San Antonio. (DENNIS WIERZBICKI / USA Today Sports)
Posted: March 25, 2014

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Brett Brown is visiting his old home.

The 76ers' rookie head coach spent 12 seasons in the San Antonio Spurs organization. The Maine native was a part of four Spurs titles before he left in August to help rebuild the Sixers.

"In regards to the NBA, there's no greater influence" than Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, said Brown, whose team will face the Spurs on Monday night at the AT&T Center. "To experience the success, and more importantly experience the culture and how you do things right . . . is difficult to put into words."

Brown wants to build the Sixers in the Spurs' image. For now, his team has to settle for being the polar opposite.

The Spurs (53-16) have the NBA's best record. The Sixers (15-55) have the league's second-worst record behind the Milwaukee Bucks.

San Antonio is riding a league-best, 13-game winning streak. The Sixers are on a 24-game losing streak that ranks second all-time behind the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers (26).

The Spurs are led by future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, all-star Tony Parker, and standout Manu Ginobili. The Sixers start three players with NBA Development League pedigrees in Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims, and James Anderson. They had eight former D-Leaguers on the active roster on Saturday.

So things could get ugly for the Sixers in Brown's homecoming. However, the game is just part of their itinerary in San Antonio.

The Sixers flew to the city after Saturday night's loss in Chicago. They have practices scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at the Spurs' practice facility. The Sixers then will fly to Houston on Wednesday evening for Thursday's game against the Rockets.

"The Spurs were gracious enough to give us time in their practice facility," said Brown, whose family still lives in San Antonio. "I'm proud to show our guys the practice facility . . . we will be getting one of our own in a few years.

"I hope they enjoy the Riverwalk. It's a fantastic city. It's got a lot of character."

Sims might stick

The Sixers may have a keeper in Sims.

The 6-foot-10, 248-pound center has pulled down eight or more offensive rebounds in the team's last two games. Charles Barkley was the last Sixer to accomplish that feat in back-to-back contests in 1991.

Nine of Sims' career-high 15 rebounds on Saturday came on the offensive end. He had eight offensive rebounds and finished with 13 total in Friday night's home loss to New York.

The second-year player out of Georgetown recorded double-doubles in those games. The Sixers acquired Sims, Earl Clark (since cut), and two future second-round picks from Cleveland in exchange for Spencer Hawes on Feb. 20.




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