Sixers Defeat Warriors 104-97: A Royal With Threes

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Royal Ivey may have received the Ace of Spades award, but it was a total team effort that led to the Philadelphia 76ers' 104-97 win over the Golden State Warriors.

The last three weeks have been pretty rough for the Philadelphia 76ers. During that stretch, the team lost seven straight games and looked every bit the part of a squad that is merely playing out the string.

Head coach Doug Collins had a mini-meltdown after the Sixers' 98-84 loss to the Orlando Magic on Feb. 26, and the team learned earlier this week that Andrew Bynum may not suit up at all this season.

The recent run of bad luck was enough for even the most ardent Sixers' fans to call for firings, a well-orchestrated tank job, or, at the very least, heads on pikes.

But after tonight's 104-97 win over the Golden State Warriors, any such talk will be put on the back burner for at least the next 24 hours. While losing games may ultimately be in the best interest of the Sixers in the long term, it's always nice to be on the winning side every now and then.

For a while, it seemed as if the Wilt Chamberlain bobblehead giveaway would be the highlight of the night for the 17,929 down at the Wells Fargo Center. Warriors' point guard Stephen Curry scored 20 points in the first 17 minutes of the game, and Golden State was up 49-33 midway through the second quarter. A 15-1 Sixers' run cut the Warriors' lead to two, and Golden State entered intermission with just a 54-51 advantage.

Klay Thompson (29 points) was on fire to start the third period, but a 10-2 Sixers' run tied the game at 73. The 76ers would go on to hit 10 of their final 12 field goal attempts in the third quarter to take an 82-81 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.

Royal Ivey may have been named the team's Ace of Spades (6-for-6 from the field, 17 points in relief of the injured Nick Young), but the fourth quarter belonged to Evan Turner. After going scoreless in the first period, Turner finished the night one assist shy of a triple-double (22 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists). In the final minutes of the game, the third-year swingman made a couple of nice passes, knocked down two big jumpers, and played pretty solid crunch time defense to help the Sixers salt the game away.

It's games like these that makes it hard to quit Evan Turner.

Jrue Holiday was exceptionally careless with the basketball against the Warriors (eight turnovers), but he still led the team with 27 points (on 20 shots). Dorell Wright got extended run for the second straight game and responded with 13 points and seven rebounds. Thaddeus Young grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, and chipped in 14 points to boot.

Fan favorite Spencer Hawes shot 0-for-9 from the field and was held scoreless in nearly 20 minutes of action. The University of Washington product spent the last 18-plus minutes on the bench after Lavoy Allen subbed in for him at the 6:40 mark of the third quarter. Mere seconds after Hawes was benched, the Sixers went on a 17-6 run.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But one of the catalysts during that run was the rarely-used Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie played a shade under eight minutes against Golden State, but finished with four points and a +10 in the box score.

What can we make of tonight's showing? Probably not much. To expect the 76ers to shoot 12-for-18 from beyond the arc in any game for the rest of the season would be ridiculous. Furthermore, the Warriors were playing their fifth game in seven nights - that's the only logical explanation as to why the Sixers outworked them on the glass 48-35.

Then again, the 76ers turned the ball over a ridiculous 23 times. And Curry (30 points) and Thompson did put up a combined 59 points, and yet the Sixers found a way to pull out a victory. Is this a harbinger of things to come?

We'll find out soon enough: The Sixers get right back at it tomorrow night against the Washington Wizards down at the Verizon Center. Is two in a row too much to ask?

Warriors vs 76ers coverage

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