Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, top, shoots as Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, of Cameroon, bottom, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Philadelphia. The Warriors won 124-116. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
by Jerry Feitelberg
The big question on everyone’s mind is this: How do they do it? How do they get pummeled by 22 points in the first and still come back to win? The Sixers outplayed the Warriors in the first half. They outscored the Warriors 47-28 in the first quarter and led 74-52 at the end of the first 24 minutes of play. The Warriors–still smarting from the 92-88 loss to Boston Thursday night–regrouped and took control of the game in the third quarter as their defense held the Sixers to just 15 points while they scored 47. The Warriors did not relinquish the lead and won 124-116.
The young Sixers appeared to be blowing the Warriors out of the building in the first half. They shot 74% from the floor in the first quarter and finished the first half at 58% The Warriors shot 47% from the floor which isn’t terrible, but they could not stop the Sixer attack. The Sixers made seven 3-point shots while the Warriors connected just on one. The Sixers had four starters in double figures at the end of the half. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 17. Ben Simmons had 15. J.J.Redick also had 15. Robert Covington knocked down 12, and Dario Saric pitched in with 9. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 15, and Kevin Durant followed with 14.
The Warriors trailed by 22 at the start of the third quarter.The Sixers increased the lead to 24 (76-52). The Warriors–as they have done so many times–found their game and started to make stops and played Warrior basketball. They found a way to move the ball and were able to find the open man. Durant and Curry led the offense, Nick Young made a big 3-point shot. Kevon Looney came in and helped energize the team on defense. The Warriors trailed by 10 87-77 with 5:30 left in the period. They continued to attack as Curry made a three to close the deficit to just one (89-88). The Warriors took the lead for good when Curry made two free throws to make it 90-89. Looney made a bucket, Curry connected on another 3-pointer, and Draymond Green finished the scoring in the period with a two-point bucket. The Warriors turned the game around outscoring the Sixers 47-15 and ended the third quarter leading 99-89.
The Warriors, behind David West and Klay Thompson, were able to increase the lead to 117-97. The Sixers fought back as they cut the lead to seven (120-113), but they ran out of time as the Warriors held on to win 124-116.
Game notes and stats — With the win, the Warriors improve to 12-4 and are 1-1 on the four-game road trip. The Sixers fall to 8-7. The Warriors had five players in double figures. Curry led the team with 35 points, five assists, and five rebounds. Durant tallied 27. Klay Thompson had 17, David West had 14, and Zaza Pachulia had 10. Green scored eight points and had eight assists along with seven rebounds.
Scoring leaders for Philadelphia were Dario Saric with 13, Robert Covington with 20, J.J.Redick with 20, Joel Embiid with 21, and Ben Simmons with 23.
The Warriors held Embiid to just four points in the second half. The Dubs held Redick to 5, Saric 4, and Simmons 8.
After the game, Curry said this about the win: “We got stops which is key.” We “found a way to give ourselves some life.” He noted that the Warriors just didn’t play well in the first half but “we moved the ball a lot better” in the second half as the Warriors found a way to score 47 points in the third quarter and put the clamps on the Sixers offense.
Steve Kerr remarked this about the play of his team in the third period: “We were more poised in the third quarter.” “They dominated the first half, but we corralled them in the second half.”
The Warriors play the Brooklyn Nets Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. Game time is at 3 pm.