OAKLAND, CA – Heading into their first match-up with the Golden State Warriors in the span of a week, the 76ers spoke respectfully about the qualities of the defending NBA champions that at some point, down the road, they hope to emulate.
The Dubs, of course, have come to represent a team full of selfless stars, one that plays with pace, passes, shoots threes, and defends at the league’s highest level.
Those attributes were on full display Saturday at Oracle Arena, where Golden State knocked off the Sixers, 135-114.
In leading the Warriors to their sixth straight victory, the daunting trio of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson combined for 74 points.
Durant led the way with 29, and was a force to be reckoned with throughout the night. Between crossover drives, elbow jumpers, and triples, the 2017 Finals MVP converted 11 of 18 attempts, and 3 of 6 3-pointers, reaching the 20 point mark by halftime.
Curry finished with 22 points, while Thompson helped put the game out of reach by tallying eight of his 23 points at the outset of the fourth quarter
Despite Durant’s potent display, the Sixers, thanks to an efficient offensive showing of their own, hung tough with Golden State throughout the opening 24 minutes of play. They trailed by only a point, 65-64, at intermission, following a first half that features 16 lead changes and seven ties.
A Durant-fueled 20-4 spurt in the third period put the Warriors in the driver’s seat, and control of the contest for good.
JJ Redick paced the Sixers with 17 points. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot pitched in with 15 points off the bench. Dario Saric supplied 14 points on 6 for 11 shooting, while Ben Simmons notched 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Joel Embiid added 12 points and 7 boards.
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It came fast and ferociously to start the third quarter, the dunk being one of the Sixers’ most emphatic plays of the night.
Los Angeles might be the final destination on the Sixers’ current trek, but the club will be in town for a couple of days, first facing the Clippers Monday, before wrapping up their trip Wednesday against the Lakers. As for the Clips, they enjoyed an auspicious start to the post-Chris Paul era, prevailing in their first four games. Since then, however, LA has dropped six of seven, including four in a row.