Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers – Game #3

Tanking? What’s tanking? The San Antonio Spurs won their second straight game to improve to 2-1 on the season after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers by a final score of 114-105. The Spurs, who were playing their second game in as many nights, came in as major underdogs but led for a majority of the second half and cruised to the win as the Philadelphia crowd booed the home team.

The Spurs led by ten points late in the third quarter before the Sixers went on an 11-0 run to take the lead with 8:45 remaining in the game. After a timeout, Devin Vassell hit a difficult jumper that sparked a 17-4 run over the next four and a half minutes. San Antonio waltzed to the victory from there.

Overall, it was an impressive win by the good guys. Sure, the tanking enthusiasts might be upset with San Antonio having a winning record — but this young team played really well on both ends of the court and richly deserved this victory.

Spurs at 76ers – Final Box

spurs 76ers grades

Keldon Johnson

Johnson had another stout performance. While he wasn’t overly efficient numbers-wise (21 points on 17 shots; three turnovers and no assists), he was clearly a difference-maker. The Sixers keyed on him, yet Johnson was still able to produce and keep the offense humming. Defensively, he was much better than usual — particularly in terms of moving his feet on the perimeter and making the right timely rotation. Johnson was also really strong on boards.

Grade: A-

Devin Vassell

That opening night disaster is now a distant memory for Vassell. He looked fantastic on offense tonight against Philadelphia. From creating his own mid-range shots to finishing acrobatically at the rim, and from launching three-pointers with confidence to making high-level passes, Vassell was really good. Defensively, Vassell was locked in and was consistently in the right spots.

Grade: A 

Jakob Poeltl

It was a bit of a strange outing for Poeltl. On one hand, the big Austrian struggled with foul trouble and witnessed Joel Embiid go for 40 points and 13 rebounds. But on the other hand, Poeltl made big play after big play when it mattered most. He was a beast on the offensive glass in the fourth quarter and his effort in that area was worthy of applause. Additionally, Poeltl’s aggression on offense and willingness to attack the rim off the move seemed to catch the Sixers by surprise and supplied the Spurs with much needed buckets.

Grade: A- 

Tre Jones

Like was the case with Poeltl, Jones’ outing was uncharacteristic — yet he was instrumental in the victory. He struggled handling the ball, was sloppy passing-wise and didn’t do well when pressured but thrived enough elsewhere to be classified as a main reason why the Spurs won. Specifically, his utilization of his speed broke down the Sixers defense on numerous occasions. I also really liked the fight he exhibited on defense.

Grade: A-

Jeremy Sochan

Sochan had a few rookie mistakes and Pop decided to bench him for long stretches. He started both halves but didn’t see much time beyond those minutes. His outside jumper continues to look iffy but his ball-handling, passing, decision-making and defensive versatility make him a very intriguing prospect to monitor on a night-to-night basis. 

Grade: C+

Doug McDermott

McDermott was really good. His movement, shooting and self-assuredness in the fourth quarter helped lift his teammates during money moments. The release on his three-pointer looks faster than ever and he’s taking full advantage of having a neon green light.

Grade: A

Joshua Primo

Primo didn’t shoot it straight but there were a few bright spots. Most notably, his passing on the move and his orchestration of pick-and-roll sets were positives. Primo valued the ball more than he usually does and limited his nonchalant passes. I also thought his defense tonight was by far the best D he’s played this season. 

Grade: B-

Josh Richardson

Although he wasn’t quite as scorching as he was last night, Richardson was still a valuable cog in the wheel. His shooting, playmaking and ball-handling were all assets on this night. Richardson’s veteran savvy was also helpful to stymie runs by the Sixers. Defensively, he competed well. 

Grade: B+

Isaiah Roby

Roby was quietly one of the keys to the victory. He played his first meaningful minutes of the season and played outstanding basketball. Defensively, his activity in the paint and bursts of athleticism on the perimeter made life difficult for the 76ers. Offensively, his passing was brilliant and his decision-making was nearly flawless. The numbers don’t show much but this type of performance will go a long way with the coaching staff.

Grade: A-

Gorgui Dieng

Old man Dieng played like he was the sensei of the group who’s tasked with showing his younger teammates how to play the sport properly. The 32-year-old was the best passer on the court for the Spurs and played with the highest basketball IQ. It’s no accident that he finished with a team-high five assists in 13 minutes. Dieng’s three-pointers weren’t dropping but his passing and defensive work in the paint made him a really useful player on this night.

Grade: A-

Zach Collins

Collins only played eight minutes against the Sixers. That was partially due to Poeltl and Dieng playing so well and partially due to Collins struggling to hold his ground in the paint against a burly Sixers squad. He wasn’t terrible when he was out there but there’s no question that Poeltl and Dieng were better built for the task at hand.

Grade: C+

Keita Bates-Diop

Has Bates-Diop lost his spot in the rotation to Roby? He might have; we’ll have to see going forward. It was nice to see him hit a three-pointer on one of his few touches this game.

Grade: Inc.


There’s no question that Pop coached this game with coming out victorious at the forefront of his mind. He played his three first round picks a total of ten minutes and leaned heavily on vets like McDermott and Dieng. That said, it’s difficult to be upset with the results. Johnson and Vassell played the leading roles and looked like possible foundational pieces. The camaraderie and unselfishness Pop has his group playing with are invaluable. Even tanking fanatics had to crack a smile this evening.

Grade: A-