By Gabe Schapiro
The Golden State Warriors (31-21) thoroughly dominated the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers (15-33), 123-80, Monday night, at Oracle Arena. The 76ers came into this contest as one of the league’s worst, and the shorthanded Warriors made them look like it. The game was never close, as Golden State had the clear edge in every respect. Marreese Speights was going up against the team that drafted him, and certainly made it a special one.
In what would be a good indicator of the rest of the night, the game began with a Philadelphia turnover leading to a Stephen Curry three-pointer. As a team they hit four of their first five shots, including 3-3 from beyond the arc. They kept pouring it on from there.
It was the surprising Speights who provided the majority of the entertainment tonight. He has spent most of the season as a bench player with minimal impact. He was once again a bench player, but on this night his impact was anything but minimal He entered the game with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, and seemingly out of nowhere turned into the human highlight reel.
Soon after entering, Speights was fouled and hit two free-throws, and much like the Warriors as a whole, he just kept scoring. He hit his first seven shots from the field, including a rare three-pointer, and 5-5 from the free throw line. At the half he already had 22 points, his season-high. Heading into the locker rooms, Speights had helped the team build an already insurmountable 66-33 lead.
He kept it up in the second half. Golden State coasted to the easy win, and when the dust had settled, he had scored a career-high 32 points, in just 26 minutes. For good measure, he added eight rebounds and three blocks. At one point the beaming Warriors faithful rained “M-V-P” chants down on him. He received a resounding standing ovation once he was removed, when the Warriors emptied their bench in the final minutes.
In all, six Dubs finished in double figures. On a rare night when he won’t dominate the headlines, Curry was still fantastic. He contributed 23 points, including 6-9 from three-point range, along with eight assists.
Draymond Green started for the third consecutive night, with Andrew Bogut still out, and notched his first career regular season double-double. He posted 11 points, 10 boards, and four blocks.
For the 76ers, Michael Carter-Williams was probably the only bright spot. He had a team-high 24 points, as one of three Philly players to finish in double figures.
The Warriors have one more game before the All-Star break. It’s not one they can write off, however, as they always dangerous Miami Heat are coming to town. The game is this Wednesday, at 7:30 pm.