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Warriors’ comeback falls short against 76ers

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The shorthanded Dubs made an impressive run, but couldn’t finish things off against the Eastern Conference-leading Sixers.

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If there is such a thing as a good loss, this is about as close as it gets.

Without Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors put forth a valiant effort but came up short in a 108-98 loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers.

Kelly Oubre Jr. led the Dubs with 24 points, while Jordan Poole continues his strong play with 19. Tobias Harris led the Sixers with 25 points and 13 rebounds.

The Dubs trailed by as many as 24 points in the first half and trailed by 14 at the break, but they came out like gangbusters in the third. Oubre scored 13 points in the quarter as Golden State outscored Philadelphia 40-21 in the period and took a five-point lead into the fourth.

It looked like the Warriors were going on their way to a victory, holding a 92-86 lead with 7:21 left in the game. But that is when things fell apart. The 76ers outscored the Dubs 22-6 the rest of the way and got the win.

Golden State turned the ball over eight times in the fourth and managed to score just 13 points over the final 12 minutes.

“They put the clamps down on us. 13 points after scoring 40 in the third,” head coach Steve Kerr said following the loss. “They really are a big team. They’ve got size at every position. Not just length but the physicality of all their wings, I thought that made a big difference in the fourth quarter.”

It was a slow start for the Dubs. Led by Ben Simmons, the 76ers came out strong and took an early 18-7 lead.

Golden State’s rough first quarter didn’t get much better against the Eastern Conference's best team. The Warriors shot just 33 percent from the field, missed all six of their attempts from beyond the arc, and trailed the Sixers 35-17 after 12 minutes.

The Dubs’ second unit cut into the lead early in the second. Led by Damion Lee, Golden State cut Philadelphia’s lead to 11 just over five minutes into the quarter, but the road team didn’t wilt under pressure.

Harris, Simmons and Tony Bradley combined to score 17 of the next 19 points for the 76ers, helping them take a 59-45 lead into the break. The Warriors were terrible on the offensive end over the opening 24 minutes, making just 36.2 percent of their field goal attempts. No Golden State player hit double figures during the first half.

Some takeaways from the loss:

Kerr said that James Wiseman would likely be a starter for the remainder of the season before the game. If that is going to be the case, the Dubs will need more from the rookie, especially if they want to get into one of the top-six seeds in the Western Conference.

Wiseman had 11 points and just four rebounds in 26 minutes of action, but his positional play remains a concern. Philly’s backup center Tony Bradley connected on all eight of his field-goal attempts, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Some of those were a result of Wiseman’s technique. Sometimes, he over-commits defensively and loses his man, which results in an easy drive-and-dish for the opposition.

The other noticeable flaw in Wiseman’s game is rebounding. He still needs to fill out his frame, but as a 7-footer with ridiculous athletic ability, he needs to be more assertive on the glass.

Wiseman is only 19 years old and will undoubtedly improve as he gains more experience. But he needs to sharpen up on some of his fundamentals if he wants to reach his All-Star potential.

Draymond Green’s offensive limitations:

Green has been great at distributing and setting up his teammates for easy looks, but his lack of shooting makes him a liability at times on the offensive end.

There were two possessions towards the end of the game that stood out in particular. The Dubs had the ball up by six with less than seven minutes to go; Green caught a pass at the top of the 3-point line that was delivered in rhythm.

Instead of squaring up or even threatening to attack the rim, he stood sideways and waited for someone else to get open. Green fed Poole the ball, and he missed a contested shot from beyond the arc.

The Dubs’ next possession played out similarly. Green had the ball at the top of the 3-point line and was wide open. Again, he didn’t look to shoot or attack, and the result was Oubre clanging a jumper.

It’s different when Steph is on the court because he can hit with limited space. But without your best offensive player, the Warriors need everyone to be aggressive and looking to score, especially against quality opponents.

Overall, it was still an encouraging effort from Golden State. Curry should be back next week, but if the Dubs come out with a solid effort on Thursday, they should be able to beat the Sacramento Kings.