For Sixers coach Brett Brown, it was certainly a bittersweet homecoming.
"It was very hard, but I feel like that is a calculated risk," Brown said of leaving his assistant's job with the Spurs. "When I take as long as I took and they take as long as they took to offer me the position, I just dug in to learning more. I'm just thrilled to be in this situation that I am.
"People from the outside can ask 'What have you done?' I was asked by ESPN about my coaching record. That's not what interests me now. I like this challenge in a fantastic city, the opportunity to rebuild a program from, effectively, scratch. This is a challenge. It was hard, but it comes with a lot of homework. To come back here, whatever our record is or it isn't, I just am really pleased to have this opportunity."
Michael Carter Williams and Thaddeus Young scored 17 each for the Sixers (15-56), while Byron Mullens had 15 off the bench and Elliot Williams scored 14. James Anderson added 10, and Henry Sims contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Austin Daye came off the bench to lead the Spurs with 22. Tim Duncan had 19 in 23 minutes for San Antonio, who were without Tony Parker because of a sore Achilles' tendon.
Brett Brown saw what it takes - four times - to win an NBA championship while with the Spurs. The makeup of the team now has a familiar look to the 76ers' head man.
"I think they've got a shot at winning it," Brown said. "Every year, it was 'Are we too old?' But Timmy [Duncan] remains timeless, and here comes Kawhi [Leonard], and Manu [Ginobili] remains timeless, and Tony [Parker] continues to get better and Pop's [coach Gregg Popovich] the king. You always think that it's going away and I look from afar now, and this is one of their best passing teams.
"Everybody talks about different parts of this program, and let's just talk about the basketball part of it. This team passes. They play together. They, apparently, from the games that I see, don't miss many beats when they sub. They got a wrecking crew as a backup group that obviously loves playing together. I see them just being a very elite team with not many weaknesses."
Casper flies in
The Sixers' 22nd different player this season took to the court when Casper Ware got into the game in the second quarter. Ware was signed earlier in the day to a 10-day contract, as the team didn't resign Darius Odom-Johnson.
The 5-10 Ware graduated from Long Beach State in 2012 and has played in Italy since.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76