The defending NBA champions in town. The atmosphere was lit – as the kids say these days. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers could not repeat what they had done earlier this season in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors as the Sixers lost 120-117 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Ben Simmons led all Sixers scorers with 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Sixers had six players in double figures (Jimmy Butler 21, Tobias Harris 20, Jonah Bolden 12, Mike Scott 22, and T.J. McConnell 10). Negatively, Simmons had nine turnovers, and JJ Redick continued to struggle from the field going 2-9 from the field (0-3 from deep). The Sixers best shooters (Butler, Harris, and Redick) combined to shoot 14-45 from the field.
Ideally, that’s not what you want to have happen with Kevin Durant (who finished with 34), Stephen Curry (who added 28), and DeMarcus Cousins (25) in town. Even though the Warriors shot just 50.6% from the field, a disastrous third quarter for the Sixers did the home team in.
The Sixers started the game well hitting 11 of their first 21 shots and leading the first quarter 32-31. In that quarter, Harris scored 10 with two threes. Simmons had 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. The team led 17-9 early in game as the Warriors struggled from the field, and Curry struggled with foul trouble. He picked up two in the first 12 minutes.
After a solid first twelve, the Sixers scored 35 in the second period thanks to a pair of three pointers by Bolden and Simmons’s 10 points in the second. The Sixers defense held the Warriors to 24 points in the quarter as Durant and Curry struggled. It felt good to be up 12 on the defending champs at home. Tobias Harris was cooking with 16 points, Simmons had 18/7/3 at halftime. Butler and Redick were still struggling, but at least McConnell was 4-5, so that helped.
You know what’s coming, right? Good.
Well, that 12-point lead evaporated pretty quick. The Warriors opened the third quarter with an 18-4 run sparked by Cousins’s six. For a while in the third, Jimmy Butler was the only Sixer to score a field goal. Ex-Drexel Dragon Damion Lee was 3-4 from deep in the quarter, the Warriors scored 38 to the Sixers 23. Thank God Curry was so off in this game or it could’ve been (and perhaps should’ve been) a lot worse.
Sixers are down three with the defending champs in the building. Who’s gonna bring it home? Tobias? Jimmy? Simmons?
Yeah, no. How about Mike Scott!
Scott had 11 points in the fourth, went 3-4 from deep, and it was close with 3:53 left in the game. Here’s the problem. The Warriors still have this guy that went to Davidson and is allegedly pretty good. Curry pretty much put this game to bed going on a personal 9-0 run in the last four minutes to close it out. The Sixers had a chance, but a late foul by Scott that head coach Brett Brown said “shouldn’t have happened” sent Durant to the line with under 30 seconds left.
Durant made both. Simmons made a lay up at the other end, and both teams traded a free throw to end the game.
Even without All-Star Joel Embiid, the Sixers put up 117 points at home against the defending champs. Moral victories aren’t exactly the order of the day around here, though.