OAKLAND – So much for the Warriors strolling into the All-Star break with an 18-game win streak.
Their streak ended at 11 games Thursday night, when the Philadelphia 76ers muscled out a 113-104 victory before a disappointed sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena.
Though the Warriors led by as much as nine, the 76ers were relentless in coming, using rebounding and solid 3-point shooting (40.7 percent through three quarters, 33.3 for the game) as their main ingredients.
Here are three takeaways from the first of a three-game homestand:
Banging and bumping with Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid presented DeMarcus Cousins with his biggest test yet.
Embiid got the best of this battle.
Cousins’ line: Seven points (3-of-10 shooting from the field, 0-of-2 beyond the arc), six rebounds and six assists. He played 25 minutes and finished minus-5.
Embiid’s line: 20 points (8-of-24, 0-of-5), 19 rebounds and four assists. He played 34 minutes and finished minus-1. He was not highly efficient, but he was very productive.
The bad news is that this is the first game since Cousins joined the lineup that he had a difficult time keeping up his primary assignment.
The good news is that it took Embiid, the most gifted center in the Eastern Conference, to make Cousins look like someone still rounding into game condition.
Klay Thompson was missed
Moreover, it meant the Warriors were without another elite defender to deal with 76ers star Ben Simmons.
Simmons took full advantage, scoring 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Though he also had eight rebounds and six assists, it was his scoring efficiency that was really scorched the Warriors.
On the other end, Thompson’s 3-point shooting was missed. Until Kevin Durant splashed one in with 4:52 remaining, Warriors had made eight 3-pointers – all by Stephen Curry. The Warriors shot 11-of-38 (28.9 percent) from beyond the arc.
One of Thompson’s greatest virtues is that he makes both ends of the game easier for Curry, and makes team defense more manageable for those on the floor with him.
Yeah, he was missed.
Clobbered on the glass
The 76ers entered the game ranked fourth in the NBA rebounding. The Warriors were tied for seventh.
The gap was a lot larger in this game.
Philadelphia pounded its way to a 50-37 overall advantage on the glass. The Sixers had 16 offensive rebounds to nine for the Warriors. In addition to Embiid’s 16 and Simmons’ eight, Jimmy Butler snagged nine.
The bottom line is that the 76ers are physically bigger than the Warriors, and also appeared more desperate to win the game.