Make that four in a row.
The Sixers knocked off the hospital version of the Golden State Warriors, 118-106, on Friday night. Joel Embiid extended his streak of games scored with at least 30 points, James Harden poured in 27 of his own, and the Melton-Milton duo continued to prove themselves more than capable.
There was a lot of star power on the injury report tonight. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins all missed Friday’s game for the Warriors. Tobias Harris was a late scratch from the Sixers’ starting lineup with back pain. Tyrese Maxey remains out, but we did get an encouraging report on his status.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- Well, Donte DiVencenzo certainly feels comfortable in this arena. The former Villanova Wildcat started the game off hot, making his first five shots from downtown. The Warriors had it going on early, making 9 of their first 10 field goals and shooting 9 of 12 from deep in the opening quarter. The Sixers seemed content to play drop coverage in the absence of Steph Curry, but the remaining Warriors seemed just as content to make the open jumpers as a result.
- James Harden responded well to the Warriors’ hot start. He had 15 points of his own in the first. When his three-point shot is falling, it makes a world of difference for his game. Despite 33 points from the Sixers in the first, they ended the quarter trailing by five.
- Philly got some good run from their unit with both Joel Embiid and Harden on the bench, as their +1 would indicate. It also helped that the Warriors’ outside shooting came back to earth during this stretch.
- James Wiseman, who had not seen action since December 7, was certainly thrown to the wolves. Embiid and the Sixers drew three fouls on the former No. 2 overall pick in just four minutes of action. Embiid was awesome defensively in the second. The way he's able to stop the ball handler during a pick-and-roll and still recover to guard the roller is second to none.
- The Sixers’ defense was much better in the second quarter, but it was their offense that prevented them from taking the lead. They shot 5 of 20 as a team during the frame, allowing the Warriors to eke into halftime with a two-point lead.
- The Sixers finally started to control things in the second half. De’Anthony Melton and Shake Milton were both very productive, specifically in pushing the ball up the floor, making it harder for the Warriors defense to get set. Doc Rivers said on Tuesday that Milton’s ability to push the ball has been one of his biggest improvements this season.
- Embiid finally started to see his shots fall from the field. He did most of his damage in the first half from the free throw line. The big fella scored 12 of his points in the third quarter, as the Sixers took their first lead of the night.
- Wiseman looked a lot more like an NBA player going up against Montrezl Harrell than Joel Embiid.
- Some really good passing from Harden to start the fourth with the bench unit. He had a couple skip passes that found Georges Niang for good opportunities, and this three-quarter-court pass to Danuel House Jr. for an and-one was a thing of beauty.
- It is once again time to talk about Joel Embiid’s scoring. That is six straight games with at least 30 points. Tonight he had 34 on a 60.1 true shooting percentage. One would have to imagine he makes his way back into the MVP conversation if he keeps scoring anywhere near this clip.
- The Sixers can extend their winning streak to five when they take on the Toronto Raptors Monday night at 7 p.m.