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Player grades: Warriors vs. Sixers

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance from the team’s 119-107 win over Philadelphia.

Steph Curry making a layup with Kelly Oubre Jr. behind him. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors got a much-needed win on Tuesday night, shutting down Joel Embiid and beating the Philadelphia 76ers 119-107 in a nationally-televised game. Getting a notch in the win column was massive — especially with a five-game road trip starting on Friday — but just as important was the manner in which they won.

The offense looked really good. The defense looked really good. The Warriors looked like a functional and quality basketball team. This is something they can build on.

While they seek to do just that, I’ll assign some grades. As always, grades are based on my expectations for each player, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that player.

Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Tuesday’s games, league-average TS was 58.2%.

Draymond Green

29 minutes, 9 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 3-for-8 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 53.3% TS, +18

It was a brutal start to the game for Green, who has become the team’s starting center just in time to face a seven-footer having one of the best offensive seasons in NBA history. He committed a foul on the opening tip, just two seconds into the game. He committed a second playing help defense barely a minute-and-a-half later. Before two minutes had gone by, Green was on the bench for the rest of the quarter, and the Warriors were in danger of letting things spiral out of control if Embiid got going.

But Draymond set that aside and was borderline dominant upon returning to start the second. The Warriors defense looks completely different since his return to the court, and his offense has been fairly sensational — the system is running creatively and fluidly with Dray pressing the buttons.

He got an assist from a Embiid’s sore knee, but Dray’s defense on Philly’s MVP was simply superb, as he kept him away from the rim all night long. Embiid barely ever got in the paint, shot just a pair of free throws, went 5-for-18 from the field, and committed eight turnovers.

Here’s a staggering statistic: since Green returned from his month-long suspension, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by 83 points in the 153 minutes that he’s played. In the 97 minutes that he’s been on the bench? They’ve been outscored by 60 points.

Those numbers are hard to fathom. He didn’t have the best stats in this game, but he made everything work. If it weren’t for the fact that he took himself out of the first quarter, the Dubs might have won a blowout ... and he might have had a perfect game.

Grade: A-

Jonathan Kuminga

39 minutes, 26 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 11-for-19 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 62.6% TS, +10

Fans of Kuminga will be stoked that he played 39 minutes. Members of the Warriors coaching staff will be stoked that he grabbed seven rebounds.

Kuminga has now scored 20 points in seven consecutive games, and he’s shot 50% or better from the field each time. Perhaps most importantly, he’s growing each game in terms of understanding when to flex his superb athleticism and dive into his deep, deep bag of tricks.

He seems to have a keen sense of the moment, pouncing on the opponent when the Warriors most need a bucket ... or when there’s a chance to put a team away. It feels like a huge number of his buckets change the momentum of the game and ignite his teammates.

I don’t know what to say: he’s really good now. And I freaking love it.

Grade: A

Andrew Wiggins

38 minutes, 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 8-for-10 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 91.0% TS, +18

Wiggins came out of the gates full of energy, which he’s been doing a lot lately. He was aggressive, energetic, and athletic, making himself present all over the court. And he had a spectacular offensive frame, totaling 10 points without missing a shot.

Unlike in many recent games, though, it continued for the course of the outing. Wiggins was locked in all game long, keeping the ball moving and scoring efficiently.

He and Kuminga both had some defensive lapse, but I’m overlooking it for each of them. They made up for it with big defensive stops, and being exactly what the Warriors want them to be.

Not to poison an excellent Wiggins outing (arguably his best of the year) with a splash of negative thinking, but I’ve been wondering: does Wiggins’ mini-resurgence mean the Warriors will be less likely to trade him? Or does it mean they’ll be more likely to trade him since his stock is probably rising?

That’s a worry for another day.

Grade: A+

Steph Curry

35 minutes, 37 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block, 5 turnovers, 2 fouls, 12-for-17 shooting, 8-for-13 threes, 5-for-5 free throws, 96.4% TS, +26

It’s a testament to Curry’s absurdity that he can put up that many points on that ridiculous of efficiency and it’s barely noticeable. I knew he was having a good game ... I didn’t know he was having that good of a game.

It was also a timely game. He didn’t score much in the first quarter as the team found it’s rhythm. When they needed him, he showed up. He led the charge in the third quarter as the Dubs nearly ran away with it. He delivered the final blows in the closing minutes.

The only stain on an otherwise beautiful day are the five turnovers, but even those weren’t very bad. They weren’t the kind that make you pull out your hair, like we’ve seen lately. One of them was even on the type of traveling call that you rarely ever see called.

Excellence. Take a bow, Chef.

Grade: A+
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, led the team in rebounds, tied for the team lead in assists, and best plus/minus on the team.

Brandin Podziemski

36 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 5-for-11 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 0-for-1 free throws, 48.1%, +15

Podz got the last-minute start after Klay Thompson was ruled out due to an illness. With the rest of the starters catching fire, the rookie — playing in his first game since being named to the Rising Stars Challenge — did a good job sliding into a smaller role.

He’s shown capable of being an engine when need be, but he’s also shown capable of being a glue guy. That’s what he was in this game. He continues to outrebound his size, not only plucking many boards but keeping tons of balls alive. He displays a lot of toughness, as evidenced in this game by the charge he took from Embiid, roughly three times his size.

There were struggles, to be clear. He was overmatched on defense at times, and had a few bad turnovers. His jumper wasn’t falling, even though he had good success when he got in the paint.

But his restraint is highly impressive to me.

Grade: B

Dario Šarić

16 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 34.7% TS, -4

Seven assists in 16 minutes is damn impressive. This game was certainly a reminder as to Šarić’s limitations, as the Dubs didn’t want him defending Embiid, but also a reminder as to the way he can break down opposing defenses with his spacing and vision.

Grade: B
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in assists.

Kevon Looney

8 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 0-for-1 shooting, 0.0% TS, -5

Looney had a very funny role in this game. He entered the game less than two minutes in, when Green had to leave with foul trouble. He played for eight straight minutes, then never played again.

Kevon’s role has been decreasing given the team’s need for athleticism. And with Draymond becoming the starting center now, Looney’s role is only going to shrink more.

But he’s a vital piece to have around for times like this: when Green has to go to the bench and Embiid is waiting to put up buckets. Looney defended him very well, and then his night was over. That’s what the Dubs needed.

Grade: B

Trayce Jackson-Davis

12 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3-for-5 shooting, 60.0% TS, -5

Just as with his fellow rookie Podziemski, Jackson-Davis continues to impress me with his restraint. He knows how to play his role, and he does so effectively and intelligently. A rookie playing 12 minutes against a very good team without a foul or a turnover is something worth starring ... and something Steve Kerr is surely taking note of.

TJD is also a fun weapon for the Dubs to have in their back pocket. He comes in during certain matchups or at certain junctions and just exploits an unsuspecting team. His flurry at the end of the third quarter was a big part of why the Warriors won this game.

Grade: A-

Cory Joseph

13 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 1-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 25.0% TS, -10

CoJo has been playing pretty well lately, but this game was a step backwards for him. He just seemed like he was swimming upstream on both ends of the court all night long.

Grade: C-
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.

Lester Quiñones

11 minutes, 3 points, 2 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 75.0% TS, -3

With the team down four rotation guards, Quiñones got some serious run for one of the first times this year. You can see why the Warriors like him: he’s so fluid on the court, always in motion, and brings energy to all the little things. He’s also not scared of the moment, as he knocked in a big three in the third quarter.

This is the type of performance that might make Kerr think about having Q leapfrog Joseph on the emergency point guard depth chart rankings.

Grade: B+

Tuesday’s DNP-CDs: Gui Santos

Tuesday’s inactives: Moses Moody, Chris Paul, Gary Payton II, Klay Thompson

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