An injured Joel Embiid unexpectedly played.
Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Rudy Gay and Danny Green did not.
The Sixers seized the opportunity Wednesday against the shorthanded Spurs with a 112-106 win to snap a 12-game losing streak vs. San Antonio that dated back to 2011.
• Embiid played through a sprained right hand as he shook off the injury from Monday's game to notch 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four blocks in over 35 minutes. He initially was ruled out, but after he went through pregame warmups, he was cleared to go.
The change in availability came as a surprise considering Embiid's description of his injury just over an hour before tipoff.
"It's just tight in general, pretty swollen, and I can't really use it, can't shoot," he said.
• Ben Simmons scored a cool, calm and collected 26 points (11 in the fourth), including 10 of 15 free throw attempts. The Spurs sent him to the line often late in the game, when he shot 5 for 9 in the fourth.
• The Spurs were missing their star power between injuries and rest in the second night of a back-to-back: Gay (right heel bursitis), Ginobili (rest), Green (left groin tightness), Leonard and Parker (both return from injury management). Veterans Patty Mills (26 points) and LaMarcus Aldridge (24 points, 14 rebounds) led the Spurs.
• More third-quarter problems: The Sixers led by 16. Then came the third. You know the rest. The Spurs outscored the Sixers 35-28 in the quarter and cut the lead to four points going into the fourth. The Sixers had to fend off the Spurs, including climbing back out of a quick deficit.
• Justin Anderson remains sidelined with shin splints (left leg).
• The last time the Sixers beat the Spurs was Feb. 11, 2011. They started Jrue Holiday (37 points), Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes. Just how long ago was that? Darius Songalia logged four minutes.