NBA Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia Sixers - Spurs Favored

Team Page: San Antonio :: Philadelphia

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The stumbling San Antonio Spurs may be happy the Philadelphia 76ers traded Allen Iverson.

San Antonio (28-13) looks to win for only the second time in seven trips to Philadelphia when the teams meet at the Wachovia Center on Sunday without the former MVP on the court.

Oddsmakers have made San Antonio -8 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 187 total points (View NBA Sports Books).

The Spurs' only road win over the 76ers (11-29) since 1999 came when two-time MVP Tim Duncan had 34 points and 13 rebounds in an 88-80 victory on Nov. 18, 2004.

The five San Antonio losses were dominated by Iverson, who averaged 38.4 points and 7.4 assists. The Spurs will not have to worry about him after Philadelphia dealt him to Denver in a blockbuster trade on Dec. 19.

The Spurs were able to take advantage of the 76ers without Iverson on Dec. 16 in San Antonio. Tony Parker scored 24 points to lead the Spurs to a 103-98 win while Iverson was inactive and waiting for the Sixers to fulfill his trade request.

San Antonio has dropped two of its last three overall, but is looking for its third road win in four games.

The Spurs went on a 17-4 run against New Orleans on Friday to close the first quarter after coach Gregg Popovich's ejection for drawing two technical fouls after complaining about a foul on Duncan. They held on to beat the Hornets 99-86.

"One thing is the coach, another thing is the players," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "Sometimes the coach has got to do it. But we sometimes lose our focus for doing that. So coaches can do whatever they want but we've just got to worry about playing good. We didn't play brilliant, that sharp. We made many mistakes during the game, but we made some progress."

San Antonio is only 5-5 in its last 10 games, and trails Southwest Division-leading Dallas by five games.

The 76ers hope to build on a thrilling 98-95 overtime win against defending NBA champion Miami on Friday. Philadelphia squandered a 17-point lead then watched as the Heat's Dwyane Wade missed one of three free throws with 2.1 seconds to play in regulation, sending the game into overtime tied at 89.

"It worked out, so we're not going to be too mad," said Sixers forward Kyle Korver, who scored 13. "We had a bunch of these that have gone the other way. We're young, we're learning, it's been a bumpy road, but we are learning and we showed that tonight."

Andre Miller, whom Philadelphia acquired for Iverson along with Joe Smith, had 16 points and nine assists. Having taken over for Iverson, Miller is averaging 12.9 points and 8.1 assists in 15 games with the 76ers.

The win was the Sixers' second in nine games overall. 

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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