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Warriors rout 76ers for sixth straight victory
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors may not have their complete game together quite yet, but judging by their six-game winning streak, including Saturday’s 135-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, even incomplete they are monsters.
Tied at 74 midway through the third period, the Warriors seized control of the game with a 20-4 run en route to a sixth consecutive win by 17 or more points, a franchise record and tied for the best mark in NBA history.
“I’d like us to be a first-half team, too,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It seems like right now we are treading water (in the first half) and don’t get going until the second half. The third quarter has been good to us lately.”
Golden State, 10-3, outscored the 76ers 36-21 in the third. During the six-game streak, they have outscored the opponents by an average of 36-23, providing most of the margin of difference during the current run of blowouts.
“They were playing great defense and they got the game going faster,” Philadelphia center Joel Embiid said. Embiid, along with rookie guard Ben Simmons, were players who had never faced Golden State before Saturday. “What we learned is that you can’t relax against them. One mistake and the game is basically gone.”
The Warriors had a moment of concern in the first half when All-Star guard Steph Curry limped to the locker room after Simmons’ knee inadvertently caught Curry’s right thigh. Curry came back after just a couple of minutes away and played the rest of the way, finishing with 22 points, third on the team behind Kevin Durant’s 29 and Klay Thompson’s 23.
Draymond Green had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, adding seven assists and five of the club’s 11 blocked shots.
“The third quarter has been our strength lately,” Curry said. “I didn’t think we were playing that bad before, but we were able to break the game open.”
Durant said that Golden State’s slow starts have to do with the opposition trying to “hit us in the mound early” (figuratively), but Sixers coach Brett Brown said the Warriors’ counterpunch is something to be feared.
“If you just take a subtle rest, they hit you right in the mouth,” Brown said. “They did a few times and the game ballooned. That’s why they’re the gatekeepers of our league. We’ll walk away learning things from this game.”
While the Warriors’ starting five is formidable, they continue to get impressive play off the bench. On Saturday it came from Nick Young, who had 13 points, including 11 from 7:29 of the third quarter to 7:29 of the fourth, a time when the game went from 74-all to the Warriors holding a 117-91 lead.
“I’m thrilled for Nick, because the early part of the season was a struggle for him,” Kerr said. “It seems like he’s getting more in tune with what we’re doing and I’m getting more comfortable how to use him. I think he’s starting to settle in. He was great tonight, a plus 22 in 21 minutes.”
The 76ers, 6-6 and the losers of nine straight against Golden State, had a chance to leave the floor at halftime with the lead, but the Warriors’ Kevon Looney, blocked Ben Simmons underneath the rim. That set up a 3-pointer from Thompson, putting the Warriors up 65-64 at the half.
The 76ers’ defense kept the game close in the first half, forcing a dozen Golden State turnovers, a number that offset the Warriors shooting 53.7 percent in the half and hitting on 15 of 16 free throw tries. Philadelphia didn’t have a single player in double digits in the first half, six players had between seven and nine points. By game’s end, guard J.J. Redick had 17, forward Dario Saric 14 and guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot came off the bench for 15.
“Tonight was a great teaching lesson for us,” said Simmons, who finished with 13. “We’ll see them next week.”
NOTES: Warriors G Steph Curry’s thigh injury is a virtual duplicate of the one suffered early in the week by F Kevin Durant. Curry is hoping not to miss a game, which Durant had to. ... Curry put up a Veterans Day post in The Players Tribune Saturday, addressing the need for better services for veterans but also talking about the why players taking a knee are honoring veterans, and “the opposite of disrespectful to them.” He also addressed the surprise he felt when attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump. ... Before the game, the Warriors presented 76ers F James Michael McAdoo with his 2017 championship ring. McAdoo won two rings in his three years with the Warriors, in 2015 and again in 2017. He’s currently on assignment with the 76ers G-League team in Delaware, but the 76ers brought him along just for the ceremony. Coach Brett Brown said it was important for the rest of the squad to see what comes from playing well in June. “It’s a wonderful example,” he said. McAdoo, who played briefly late in the game, got a standing ovation from the Warriors and most of the crowd.