Greg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs have officially lost 8-straight games for the first time in the legendary coach's career. Overall, the Spurs are 5-11 on the season; furthermore, these last 8 games, point to a team in a massive downward spiral.
Since November 9th (the beginning of the Spurs' losing streak), the Spurs rank 27th in net rating (-9.1) and 29th in defensive rating (121.2). On his most recent podcast, Zach Lowe discussed the Spurs' recent defensive struggles, and many of his concerns were highlighted during this game.
Most glaringly was Aldridge's inability to defend Embiid. While he wasn't Embiid's primary defender throughout the game, he weakly contested a couple of Embiid's shots and was caught flat-footed, clearing the way for some easy Embiid baskets.
Looking at the 76ers, they have been two completely different teams this year: a team with Joel Embiid, and a team without Embiid. Prior to tonight's game, the 76ers have played 10 games with Embiid and have produced an offense that is .5 points per 100 possessions better than league average (14th in the league) and a defense that is 4.7 points better than league average (6th in the league).
In four games without Embiid, the 76ers absolutely fall apart on defense. While their offense only drops to .65 points worse than league average (18th in the league), their defense plummets to 3 points worse than league average (20th in the league).
Unfortunately for the San Antonio Spurs, Joel Embiid was in the starting lineup last night.