LOS ANGELES (dpa) – Another game, another loss: the winless Philadelphia 76ers took one more step toward NBA infamy.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points, including the game-sealing three-point play with 42.7 seconds left Monday, and the short-handed San Antonio Spurs edged the Sixers 109-103 for a franchise-record
17th straight loss to open the season.
The desperate Sixers travel to Minnesota on Wednesday with their best shot at a victory against the banged-up Timberwolves, who own a 4-12 record.
However, a loss means Philadelphia would match the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets (0-18) all-time mark for futility to start a season.
“We just have to keep pushing and keep fighting,” said Sixers rookie KJ McDaniels, who had 10 points and nine rebounds. “All we have is each other on the road, so we will have to go in there and play our hearts out and go against the crowd and try to get a W.”
Australian Aron Baynes scored a career-high 15 points, while Argentine Manu Ginobili and Cory Joseph added 14 apiece for San Antonio (13-4), who extended their winning streak to eight despite the absence of stars Tim Duncan (rest) and Frenchman Tony Parker (bruised ribs).
Ginobili admitted the Spurs were well aware of the Sixers goose-egg start.
“You can’t be thinking they haven’t beaten anybody and we didn’t want to be the first one,” he said. “Considering the circumstance without Tim, and no Tony, it wasn’t the best choice to face them.”
Michael Carter-Williams had 24 points with 11 rebounds and Russian Alexey Shved netted 19 for Philadelphia, who were without their leading scorer Tony Wroten (knee) and top rookie Noel Nerlens (right hip flexor).
“We started the game and we had no juice, no energy,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
“We play the Spurs and we were star struck for a second.”
Philadelphia quickly fell behind by 21 points and 61-46 at halftime. Trailing by 19 in the third quarter, the Sixers chipped away and made a late run to pull within 101-96 with one minute 23 seconds left on a Henry Sims layup.
But Leonard’s three-point play settled the outcome and the reigning NBA Champs had their eighth straight win in the series.
LA Clippers 127 – Timberwolves 101
Blake Griffin and JJ Redick tossed in 23 points apiece, and the surging Clippers (12-5) crushed the visiting T-Wolves (4-12) for their fifth consecutive victory. Shabazz Muhammad had 18 points with 10 rebounds for Minnesota (4-12), playing without injured starters Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Petkovic.
Nuggets 103 – Utah Jazz 101
Ty Lawson had 15 points with 12 assists and the tie-breaking jumper with 29.6 seconds left, as the visiting Nuggets (9-8) beat the Jazz after blowing a 22-point cushion. Gordon Hayward scored 25 and Alec Burks added 22 in Utah’s (5-13) sixth straight loss.
Wizards 107 = Miami Heat 86
Reserve Rasual Butler dropped in 23 points against his former team, John Wall added 18 with
13 rebounds and the Wizards (11-5) whipped the visiting Heat in the wire-to-wire win. Chris Bosh topped Miami (9-8) with 21 points and Dwyane Wade added 20 in his second game back from a right hamstring strain.