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Golden State Warriors 135 - Philadelphia 76ers 114: The Warriors are hitting their stride

Golden State wins their sixth in a row by fifteen or more for the first time

Miami Heat v Golden State Warriors
It’s a party and everyone’s invited
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I have to admit I have a soft spot for Philadelphia. It’s the first American city I ever visited, it’s the home of arguably the greatest hip-hop band of all-time, and the historic roots of the Warriors franchise.

Finally, after the NBA’s most blatant tank job ever, the residents of the city of brotherly love have something to be excited about on the court.

Tonight marked James Michael McAdoo ring night. Was there a hint of sadness in Kerr’s eyes at the loss of one of the Golden State Warriors' favorite deep reserves?

Lesson 1: Strength in Numbers is greater than ‘The Process’

Greg’s key matchup asked how would the Warriors defend the Sixers' talented big men?

Fittingly for McAdoo night the Warriors bevy of big men was tasked with stopping ‘The Process’ aka Joel Embiid.

First up was the oft-derided Zaza Pachulia. But tonight he defended Embiid fairly well, even winning the tip. Zaza’s in there for defense, passing, setting solid screens, and grabbing rebounds - he provided all of that tonight.

But Zaza as a featured player on offense ends with predictable results. One wonders when the Warriors starters will realize that an open three is better than a Zaza layup…

Up next is usually JaVale McGee. Tonight there was some extra motivation for him as he was a casualty of the Sixers tank job, carelessly tossed away like a pass to Zaza’s ankles.

JaVale started with a nice post move, then swiped a steal from Embiid and showed off his full pterodactyl range with a sweeping dunk, before nailing a nice turnaround jumper.

But the star of the Warriors' big man show was probably Kevon Looney. He entered the second quarter and played some nice defense on Ben Simmons and Embiid, including this monster block.

He played so well he got JaVale's minutes in the second half and did not disappoint. More on that later...

Overall Embiid was no match for the Warriors' big man ‘Strength in Numbers’ rotation, finishing with only 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting, and with a Warriors-like 7 turnovers.

Meanwhile, Ben Simmons' lack of a jumper really hurt him in this game. He missed his first six shots, before making the seventh. Except it wasn’t a shot, it was a pass that happened to go in by mistake. It’s not a stretch to say his passing is way ahead of his shooting so far.

The defensive savant that Draymond Green is, sniffing any weakness like a shark sniffs blood, took advantage of several times going under screens and roaming off to help elsewhere.

Then there was this...

Lesson 2: Early turnovers continue to be a problem

However, the game remained close throughout the first half.

One reason was the return of the Warriors' trademark turnovers. Bad passes off the mark, with several telegraphed to defenders, led to a hideous assist to turnover ratio of eight turnovers to five assists at the end first quarter.

Of course the king of the assist to turnover ratio is Andre Iguodala, averaging an insane 8.8 assists-to-turnovers so far this year. So usually he comes in, settles everyone down, and the Warriors get a bit less careless.

However, it was Iguodala’s turn to rest today so the problem continued well into the second quarter. The Warriors finished the first half with 13 turnovers to 12 assists.

Some credit should go to Philly, whose length and effort on defense did cause some problems. But there were still some really careless passes.

Lesson 3: Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are really good

Well, duh. But seriously, they were awesome throughout, particularly keeping the Warriors afloat during a toughly contested first half.

It all started with a scare with Steph leaving the game early after getting rocked on a screen with a thigh contusion.

He returned to drop 15 in the half on one leg. And Steph continued his early season trend of drawing fouls galore and getting to the line more, finishing 9-for-9 from the charity stripe for the game.

Meanwhile, Durant was on fire finishing the first half with 20 points in 17 minutes

Lesson 4: The Warriors own the third quarter

The second half opened with an Embiid monster dunk

But that was as good as it got for the visitors. Steph started with a jumper off a Zaza screen, then a steal that led to a rare Zaza layup off a nice pass from Durant.

Steph showed off his passing game tonight, becoming only the second Warriors player ever to surpass 4000 assists. Unfortunately, his best pass of the night didn’t lead to an assist as Green missed the dunk

Durant, on the other hand, was having no problem dunking all over the place

Halfway through the quarter Looney re-entered the game with his cousin Nick Young. Their familial bond immediately paid dividends

The boys from the city of brotherly love were being rocked by the California cousin connection (Note to self: avoid any Arrested Development jokes...).

Then Looney ran a perfect pick and roll with Curry, setting a strong screen, rolling purposefully off another gorgeous Curry feed, and finishing with a big dunk over Embiid.

A one-point halftime lead ballooned to 16, as the Warriors outscored Philadelphia 36-21 in the quarter.

Durant exited with 29 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals and blocks. Curry took a seat with 22 points to go with his nine assists four rebounds, and a team high plus-minus of +29.

The Warriors certainly do love themselves a Steve Kerr half-time talk.

Lesson 5: The reserves are finding their groove

A couple of weeks ago I looked at the Warriors struggle to find enough minutes to get everyone in a rhythm.

How has Kerr elected to solve the conundrum? Well the last few games he has taken to resting a player every night. This has helped get guys into a groove.

The second unit is being helped by Klay Thompson’s overall improvement this year. He looks more comfortable handling the ball, his assists are up, and his cuts are purposeful.

Tonight he was very solid, finishing with 23 points off 9-for-17 shooting, including 4-for-6 from 3-point land, including this one off some Shaun Livingston flash.

Nick Young is also starting to look like a Warrior. Along with some Swaggy threes, there was some Swaggy D, and even some signs that the P in Nick Young’s ridiculous moniker could stand for passing.

The first play of the fourth he turned down a contested shot to pass inside to David West who whipped it out for a Klay open three pointer.

He followed that up by scoring a nice layup of a West pass after cutting without the ball for perhaps the first time in his basketball life.

Halfway through the quarter we entered full on garbage time featuring the intriguing matchup of Jordan Bell versus McAdoo, the man he replaced.

It didn’t start too well -- Bell turned the ball over while McAdoo hit a three. Bell then fouled McAdoo and double dribbled into a turnover. Hm.

But Bell settled in and finished with two nice assists, the first to Pat McCaw for his second fast break dunk in two games, and then to Omri Casspi whose solid all around play helped keep the lead safe.

Then Bell finished the game with a nice dunk off a nice patented Swaggy Pass.

Somehow the final score of 135-114 marked the first time ever Warriors have won six games by 15 or more in a row.

Bonus lesson: Don’t trash talk Draymond

Draymond’s final stat line looked pretty nice - 10 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks, and two steals. He may not have spent too much time matched up with the trash talking Embiid, but when he did this is what happened...

It’s all good though, as Dray’s a fan of Embiid’s trashtalk.

Durant chimed in too on the topic, after he and Embiid picked up a trash-talking double T.

The final word though has to go to Dray ‘you just got your ass beat’.


Who is your Warrior Wonder?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Third Quarters
    (291 votes)
  • 5%
    Klay Thompson
    (59 votes)
  • 8%
    Kevin Durant
    (93 votes)
  • 4%
    Draymond Green
    (54 votes)
  • 7%
    Nick Young
    (85 votes)
  • 25%
    Javale McGee
    (273 votes)
  • 13%
    Kevon Looney
    (146 votes)
  • 7%
    Shaun Livingston
    (81 votes)
1082 votes total Vote Now

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