After being beaten by the Sixers on Jan. 31 at Oracle Arena, you knew the Warriors would want revenge.
They got it Saturday night, beating the Sixers, 120-117, at Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers had a chance to tie it, down three with 2.4 seconds left, but a well-guarded Tobias Harris stepped out of bounds.
Kevin Durant (34 points), DeMarcus Cousins (25 points) and Stephen Curry (28 points) led the way for the Warriors, who were without Klay Thompson (right knee soreness).
The Sixers are now 3-2 since the All-Star break without Joel Embiid (left knee tendinitis). Embiid talked in depth before the game about his injury and said he plans to be back by next week (see story).
Here are observations from the loss:
• Ben Simmons played perhaps the best game of his career when the Sixers beat the Warriors in January, posting 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
His first-half performance Saturday was near that standard — Simmons scored 18 points on 7 for 8 shooting, played excellent defense and pushed the pace well.
In the second half, Simmons struggled. He shot just 3 for 7 after halftime, unable to jump-start the Sixers’ offense and coughing it up whenever he tried to create something special. He nearly had a quadruple-double of sorts, finishing with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists and nine turnovers.
• When the Sixers took a 71-57 lead early in the third quarter, the thought briefly crossed your mind that they might run away with a win. But the two-time defending champs don’t usually let that happen.
Golden State immediately went on a 16-0 run as the Sixers’ comfortable lead evaporated. The Sixers' inability to stem the run was disappointing, but it’s certainly not the first time the Warriors have stormed back into a game.
• Harris needed 20 shots to get his 20 points and, like Simmons, wasn’t very effective in the second half, shooting 1 for 8. Harris has played nine games with the Sixers and only shot under 50 percent from the field twice — Saturday night and Feb. 12 vs. the Celtics.
• If we’ve learned anything about Mike Scott (season-high 22 points) during his short time with the Sixers, it’s that he doesn’t mess around and he knocks down three-point shots. When Jordan Bell took exception to a foul by Scott late in the second quarter, Scott had no hesitation pressing his forehead against Bell’s and getting into a heated dialogue. Bell and Scott both received technical fouls.
You might remember Scott also picked up a technical on Feb. 23 vs. Portland, sticking up for Simmons (see video).
Scott’s toughness isn’t manufactured or for the cameras. When he gets in an opponent’s face, he’s dead serious.
His three three-pointers in the third quarter were big for the Sixers, helping to stem Golden State’s run. Scott nailed three long-range shots in the fourth as well.
• Jonah Bolden, starting for the second straight night, got off to a tremendous start. He scored the Sixers’ first basket, driving by Cousins in the right corner, making one long, explosive dribble to the rim, and finishing with a reverse lay-up — plus a foul from Alfonzo McKinnie.
About a minute later, he allowed Cousins to get deep post position on him, but then swatted away Cousins’ jump hook.
Amir Johnson missed Saturday’s game with upper-back tightness, meaning the Sixers had to lean on Bolden more than usual. The rookie played 21 minutes, and he came back to earth a little after his opening surge. He appeared not to know the play call on one after-timeout set, and he got into foul trouble early in the third quarter. Bolden had 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting and three rebounds.
• Another rough shooting night (2 for 9) from JJ Redick hurt the Sixers. Redick entered Saturday’s game shooting 29.2 percent from the floor in his last six games.
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