Photo credit: @NBA
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors, who returnedhome after winning all five games on the road, had to face the young and talented Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
The game marked the home debut of DeMarcus Cousins, and the sellout crowd was hoping that the Warriors would win their 12th game in a row. Cousins had 22 points Monday night in the win over the Indiana Pacers, and it appeared that he fitted in well with the team. Cousins’ presence in the lineup gives the Warriors something they have needed for a long time, and that is a big man that can clog the lanes, rebound, pass, and shoot. Cousins was also able to provide screens for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
The 76ers, with the third best record in the NBA East and led by their two big men, Joel Embiid at center and Ben Simmons at forward, were too much for the Warriors as they sent the Warriors down to defeat 113-104.
The two teams played a very competitive first quarter. The Warriors led 21-12 about midway through the period. The 76ers went on a 16-6 run to tie the game at 27. The Warriors got back on track behind two buckets each by Kevon Looney and Kevin Durant. The Warriors led 35-30 after the first 10 minutes of play. Steph Curry knocked down 11 points, and he made three 3-point shots. In the second quarter, the 76ers started the proceedings with an 8-0 run to lead 38-35. The Warriors rallied behind Curry, Durant, and Looney to extend the lead to seven 60-53 at the end of the first half. Curry had 23 points, and he made six threes in eight tries. Alfonzo McKinnie, who was filling in for the ailing Klay Thompson, helped out with 9. Durant had 12, and Looney had 8. Other than Looney, no Warrior coming off the bench, scored a point. Ben Simmons led the 76ers with 15, Embiid had 9 points and 10 rebounds. Former LA Clipper, JJ Redick, had six, and the Warriors held Jimmy Butler scoreless.
The third quarter was a different story. The Warriors, who have done so well so many times in this quarter, were outplayed by the 76ers. The Warriors were ahead 69-59 until Philadelphia went on a 12-2 run to tie the game at 71. The Warriors tied the game at 73, and it was all 76ers after that. The 76ers outscored the Warriors 42-26 in the period and led by nine, 95-86, heading into the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid had 11 points in the period to lead the 76er rampage.
Each team scored 18 points in the fourth quarter. The 76ers were able to bottle up Curry. He was able to make two threes, but the other Warriors couldn’t help him out. Both teams played defense in the last 12 minutes of action. The Warriors tried, but Embiid and company won the battle Thursday night.
Game Notes and Stats: The 76ers are now winners of 7 of their last nine games and improve to 34-18. They trail the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors for the best record in the NBA East. The Warriors fall to 36-15. They still have the best record in the NBA West.
Steph led the Warriors with 41points, and he connected on 10 threes in 18 tries. Durant had 25, Looney 14, and McKinnie 11. DeMarcus Cousins had 7 points, 6 boards, and six assists. Draymond Green finished with 4 points, 8 boards, and 10 assists.
Joel Embiid had his 42nd double-double of the season. He finished with 26 points and 20 rebounds. Ben Simmons had 25. JJ Redick added 15. The 76er bench contributed 31 points while Looney had 14 and the rest of the Warrior bench added just two points.
The Warriors were without the services of Klay Thompson, who was not able to play due to an undisclosed illness. McKinnie filled in for him, and he did well in his first NBA game as a starter.
The stats show how close the game was. Both teams made 41 field goals in 88 attempts good for 46.6% The 76ers made one more three-pointer than the Warriors 12-11. Where the game was won was on the free throw line. The 76ers outscored the Warriors 19-11 from the charity stripe.
The 76ers beat the Warriors for the first time since the 2013 season.
Up Next: The Warriors face the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night at Oracle Arena. Game time will be at 5:30 pm.
Lakers superstar LeBron James, who did not play when the Warriors, beat the Lakers in LA in game two of the five-game road trip and will be back in action for LA.