From Boston to Philadelphia, the Warriors have been on a mini-tour of the future of the Eastern conference. The Warriors entered Philly off the back of arguably Steph Curry’s worst game in living memory, and Joel Embiid’s dominance in LA.
This was not going to be a cakewalk.
Something smells bad
The Warriors opened up like a steaming pile of dog excrement. Seeing as the Warriors couldn’t be bothered to show up for the first quarter, I don’t feel particularly like putting too much effort into writing about their abysmal defensive effort and lackadaisical offense.
I mean what can you say when the Philadelphia 76ers puts up 47 points on you in one quarter? 47!!
That's... a lot of points. pic.twitter.com/BIUAjZ4jGH— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 19, 2017
Yes Philadelphia, 47 is a lot of points. Hold that thought.
The most notable thing out of that horrific mess was Kerr pulling a Popovich-like quick double timeout.
Steve Kerr on that two timeout frustration sequence in the first quarter and the team's embarrassment sparking a third quarter stampede pic.twitter.com/iYpE0czpwf— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 19, 2017
Curry couldn’t hit anything from three and it looked like he was pressing and taking quick shots, but he did get it going inside the arc, finishing the quarter with 13 points.
Philly on fire
Embiid continued to look impressive, showcasing his impressive range. He followed a nice dunk to open the game by nailing a three pointer, and then creating an open three for his teammate out of a post-up.
Ben Simmons too looked very good in this one with a driving dunk off some Cohan-era defense, and nice a hook shot in the paint over Draymond Green. He even made the free throw, even though he later shot a customary airball.
Oh, and Robert Covington proved his new contract is an absolute steal, going 4-4 from three for the quarter, and proving a terror on the defensive end.
Philly were so hot even the fans were nailing shots from Steph Curry range...
After the @sixers score 47 in the first quarter... the shooting continues during the break! pic.twitter.com/HMmFCu4QTE— NBA (@NBA) November 19, 2017
My eyes, the goggles do nothing!
Could the Warriors do any better in the second quarter? Could they do any worse?
Not really. Predictably on a second unit featuring only one three point threat - Klay Thompson - there was no spacing. So a series of bricks and turnovers followed with the 76ers, and Simmons in particular, continuing to feast.
The one-way Philadelphia traffic was punctuated briefly by a Warriors mini-run including a nice Kevin Durant alleyoop dunk.
.@Money23Green alley, @KDTrey5 oop pic.twitter.com/8gPbqrQNt9— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 19, 2017
But an Embiid transition dunk, and a rebound putback, to finish the half left Philadelphia up 74-52.
I doubt any Warrior fans particularly want to relive that half, but if you want a glimpse of the future here it is:
Ben Simmons puts on a strong performance for the @sixers in the 1st half!#HereTheyCome up on #DubNation in Philly, 74-52. pic.twitter.com/KASe3MDjqg— NBA (@NBA) November 19, 2017
Just make sure you’ve got your protective eye-wear on.
To GSW fans coming late, do NOT look directly at the game. Use protective eyewear, or look at its shadow on cardboard.— Eric Apricot (@EricApricot) November 19, 2017
From insipid zeroes to intrepid heroes
The 76ers opened the second half with some nice teamwork between their young core to push the lead further.
Saric ➡️ Simmons ➡️ Embiiid#HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/xL6mju3U6D— NBA (@NBA) November 19, 2017
So, a 24 point lead. Behinds were being roundly kicked. How could our insipid zeroes turn back into our intrepid heroes?
Here we go...
- Curry hits jumper off a Zaza Pachulia screen
- Pachulia rebounds, the ball gets pushed up the court, and whips around for a Durant three
- Curry finally makes a three pointer! Amazingly he had been 12-61 for his career in this building prior to the game
- Durant gets a steal jumping into the passing lane, drives, hangs, and gets the and-1
- Draymond cuts back door and scores off a nice Zaza pass
- Curry rims in a jumper off a Zaza screen
- Zaza makes a layup on the patented slowbreak for an and-1. Embiid, trailing hits the stanchion hard with his face and neck as he stumbles. Everyone holds their breath but fortunately he’s OK.
- Durant hits a couple of jumpers - a mid ranger after another Warriors push downcourt, then an iso-jumper on the wing
- Draymond contests a Covington three and he finally misses. Dray leaks out in transition and Steph finds him with a nice bounce pass for a dunk.
- Curry hits the open three off a Kevon Looney rebound
- Klay hits baseline runner, after Durant pushes the pace
- The first Nick Young sighting of the night turns into a Swaggy three off a scrambling Curry assist
- Curry hits another three off a Looney screen
- A Draymond defensive stop leads to a Curry break, who takes it right at Embiid, gets the call, knocks down the free throws, and there we are. 90-89 lead.
By the end of the quarter Curry really had it going, and finally we got to see a patented long bomb as he hits an arcing three pointer off a Draymond pass to stretch the lead to 97-89.
That made it 20 points in the quarter for Steph, including 4-4 from three.
Draymond finished the quarter with an emphatic drive and dunk off a nice crossover. It was the exclamation point on another 47 point quarter, this time for the Warriors.
Just look at this beautiful highlight reel...
The @warriors scored a scorching 47 total Q3 PTS in their comeback victory! #DubNation pic.twitter.com/dYjaxV10Mk— NBA (@NBA) November 19, 2017
Experience guides the Warriors home
Despite that herculean effort the lead was only ten opening the fourth quarter.
Where once upon a time the Warriors never let teams back in the game - winning 114 consecutive games when up by 15 points or more - they have been somewhat more careless of late.
Ben Simmons was doing his best to the keep the 76ers in it, but against an inexperienced Philadelphia team the Warriors veterans were at their best. Shaun Livingston, and particularly David West, were lethal from mid-range, canning jumpers galore.
The highlight of the quarter though has to be this alley-oop to West as three ageing Warriors beat Philly’s spring chickens down the floor.
Livingston to Iguodala to West with the alley oop finish! What is this 2007?! pic.twitter.com/bHR38ANv3I— Warriors Talk (@JaeAzizi) November 19, 2017
In truth that was representative of the 76ers transition defense in the second half, and was a major part of how the Warriors were able to get back in it.
Ultimately the key to the turnaround lay in pushing the tempo and moving the ball, off the back of an improved defensive effort.
The starters re-entered and milked the clock with some poise. Durant finished off with a nice highlight.
Circus shot from KD! pic.twitter.com/OOnWbIbapL— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 19, 2017
So the Warriors escape with the win, Curry gets back on track, and Dub Nation breathes a sigh of relief.
Tonight’s Warrior Wonder
For me, I’m going with Steph Curry hands down. 35 points, five assists, five rebounds, and 20 in the third quarter.
To be honest you could see this coming a mile away before the game - he’d had one of his worst games in years and he rarely has two duds in a row.
A couple of games ago he was touching the 50-40-90 club again. After a bit of a run of not-quite-heavenly shooting, some were reaching for the panic button. But with such small sample sizes early in the season a few games either way can affect the percentages.
There were some ridiculous takes out there that I’m not going to link to, but people forget he has a tendency to start seasons a bit slower before elevating his game after the All-Star break.
It’s a pattern - the hate pours on, and then he makes everyone look very silly.
Anyway, here’s his highlight package from tonight
.@StephenCurry30 went off in the 3Q to help lift the @warriors over the 76ers, 124-116 on the road! pic.twitter.com/y3iI7jN1hy— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 19, 2017
Tonight Durant had a decent game too with 27 points and five rebounds, though his turnover habit continued with four giveaways. That’s something to watch - he’s leading the currently team with 3.3 a game.
As for the bigs, David West showed what veteran leadership means with 14 points and seven rebounds on 7-8 from the floor.
Both Pachulia (10 points, 4 rebounds) and Looney (with a team high +19) played valuable minutes, setting good screens and bodying up with the beast that is Embiid.
Who do you have as tonight’s Warrior Wonder?
Who was tonight’s Warrior Wonder?
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Other (answer in the comments please)