After a brief hiatus, the Golden State Warriors were back on the court on Wednesday, hosting the Philadelphia 76ers. Yet, while the Sixers remain one of the biggest contenders in the Eastern Conference, they are missing three of their best players (Joel Embiid, Tobias, Harris, and Ben Simmons). Still, that did not stop Philly from jumping on the Warriors early.
Without Harris, Simmons, or Embiid, guards Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry have emerged as the Sixers’ primary scorers. Indeed, on Wednesday, Curry led the way for Philadelphia as they went up against his older brother’s squad. While they fell short of victory, Curry led the 76ers with 24 points. Maxey, who scored 19 points, was the only Philadelphia player that scored more than 10.
Things looked to be going the 76ers way early. Andrew Wiggins missed four free throws in the first few minutes of action, and Golden State struggled to generate much offensively. On the other side of the ball, Seth Curry got going early, scoring 8 of his team’s first 13 points.
Steph Curry was the lone offensive spark for the Dubs early in the first quarter, but head coach Steve Kerr’s new rotation brought him to the bench early in the quarter. As soon as Steph left the court, Golden State collapsed, and Philadelphia built an early 27-13 lead.
With the Warriors’ secondary scorers, Jordan Poole & Andrew Wiggins, struggling to score early, Steph took even greater initiative when he reentered the game. 76ers elite defender Matisse Thybulle, though, was a particular thorn in Curry’s side, deflecting passes, contesting shots, and recording two steals in the first half.
However, whatever offensive headway he made was almost immediately undone by arguably the worst Warriors defensive half of the season. Onlookers have become accustomed to a dominant Golden State defense this season, but the Sixers had their way with the Dubs in the first half. With four minutes to go in the second quarter, they already had a 55-36 lead. Making matters worse, Warriors forward Draymond Green picked up his fourth foul less than a minute later.
Yet, before the game could get more out of hand, the Dubs began turning things around. Curry, Poole, Wiggins, and Otto Porter Jr. all scored in a 16-6 run to close the half, capped off by a half-court heave by Poole that brought the Warriors within 9 points. Given how poorly they played, the fact that Golden State was within single digits felt like a foreboding sign for Philly.
As soon as the third quarter started, it seemed like the Warriors had flipped a switch. Despite his four fouls, Green was as aggressive as ever defensively and set the tone for a fantastic half. He finished the game with 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, but did most of his damage in the second half.
Less than four minutes into the third, the Warriors had taken the lead. The Sixers managed to keep pace for the rest of the quarter but trailed 86-84 entering the fourth.
Then, Golden State’s recent rest and Philadelphia’s extended road trip probably set the stage for what happened next. The Warriors went on a 15-3 run in the final quarter, and the Dubs controlled the game en route to a 116-96 win. After trailing by 19 points, the Warriors pulled out a 20-point victory.
Juan Toscano-Anderson was the star of the night. He finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in 25 highlight-filled minutes of action. Given how recently JTA was relegated to the back of the bench, it was great to see the Oakland native playing a significant role in a big Warrior win.
Beyond Toscano-Anderson, several Warriors rebounded from sloppy starts. Poole scored an inefficient 17 points but filled up the rest of the box score with five rebounds and six assists.
Wiggins scored 15 points in the second half, shooting 6-for-10 from the field, and grabbed 6 boards in the game.
Yet with all that said, Steph Curry finished with the most impressive line. Despite his four turnovers, he recorded a game-high 25 points, 10 assists, and +29 plus/minus.
Now 16-2, the Dubs look to continue solidifying their place atop the NBA standings on Friday, when they host the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:00 pm PST.