By: Kylan Watson
Tonight’s contest between the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors was slated to pit a veteran laden trio against an up and coming one. Unfortunately, the Warriors have been bitten by the injury bug and Stephen Curry and Draymond Green didn’t play in this game. Leaving only Klay Thompson facing down the duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden. The Sixers were able to make a comeback and burn the Warriors thanks to an offensive explosion from Harden and Embiid, they beat them 118-106. With the win the Sixers have pushed their win streak to four games which is a season high.
Despite being undermanned Golden State jumped on the Sixers from the opening tip-off. They were able to hit their shots from beyond the arc, whenever Philly gave them any room from the three-point line it ended up in the basket. Before the Sixers could get settled, they were down 15 and Golden State was threatening to run them off their home-floor. During this stretch they were led by a familiar name in Philly hoops Donte DiVincenzo. The former Villanova player scored 15 of his 17-points in the first quarter, he was the Warriors offense in that quarter. The Sixers just could not stop them, he used his quickness to be able to get shots up from beyond the arc and made five of them. Philly was able to trap him to get the ball out of his hand and force someone else to beat them and Golden State just could not get anything else from their other players except for Jordan Poole who scored 29-points. The two of them just did not have enough to maintain their lead. That was the difference in this game.
Philly was able to storm back into this game in the second quarter, as Joel Embiid (34-points and grabbed 13 rebounds) and James Harden (27-points and had nine assists) finally woke up and combined for 61 of the Sixers’ 118-points. The Warriors could not stop either one of them when they made up their mind to take full advantage of being the stronger players. They would rise up over the outmatch defenders or attack the paint to get their man in foul trouble. By the third quarter the Sixers retook the lead and pushed it to 12-points. Harden and Embiid were the difference in this game, their pick-and-roll game was big tonight as they were both able to get wide-open shots off of the action. The Warriors were dropping in coverage to clog up the paint like the I-76 Expressway during rush hour. That allowed Harden and Embiid to get perimeter shots or wide-open threes and when the Warriors would double or trap them, they would find the open man for a corner three. The Sixers had more horses tonight despite missing both Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey. When they come back combined with the way this team is currently playing. They will be one of the best teams in the East and will have something to say when it comes down to a top-three seed in the conference.
The Sixers will get a few days off as they prepare to face the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. They will need to come out with energy on both sides of the ball if they want to keep up with the Raptors. Additionally, they will need to continue to keep the ball moving on the offensive side and get high percentage shots against a stingy Raptors defense. If they want to push the win streak to five and get their 17th win of the season.