The Sixers are certainly not going into this year’s NBA trade deadline on a high note.
They fell Wednesday night to a third consecutive loss and their seventh defeat in eight games. The Warriors pulled far away from the Sixers in the second half and cruised to a 127-104 win at Wells Fargo Center, improving to 23-25.
Andrew Wiggins (21 points, 10 rebounds) was Golden State's top scorer.
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The 30-20 Sixers were exceptionally undermanned in their final game before the Thursday afternoon deadline.
They were down Joel Embiid (left knee meniscus procedure), De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine stress response), Nicolas Batum (left hamstring strain), Danuel House Jr. (right foot soreness), Marcus Morris Sr. (left foot plantar fasciitis) and Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise).
The Sixers will host the Hawks on Friday night. Here are observations on their blowout loss to Golden State:
Reed looks a bit more like himself
Paul Reed had said following the Sixers’ Wednesday morning shootaround that he felt “a lot better” after playing through an illness the last two games.
That was evident in his early play. Reed scored the game’s first points on a crafty floater, blocked a Stephen Curry turnaround jumper attempt, and provided can’t-miss hustle on both ends. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr asked for a timeout when Reed threw down a put-back dunk.
Reed played nearly nine minutes in his strong opening stint and posted four points on 2-for-2 shooting, four rebounds and two blocks. The Sixers held a 16-9 lead when he subbed out.
Sixers head coach Nick Nurse ended up playing Reed 31 minutes and gave Mo Bamba nine. We’ll now wait and see whether the Sixers change their center picture before the deadline.
Springer stands up to test vs. Curry
Jaden Springer started and got the task of chasing Curry all over the court.
He was up for the challenge, mirroring Curry’s movements and playing pesky, impressive defense. With opportunities to receive extended minutes for the shorthanded Sixers, the 21-year-old has shown his tremendous defensive tools more consistently over the past couple of weeks.
Curry’s constant motion is a unique challenge to face, but Springer was great at anticipating actions, working through off-ball screens, denying catches, and blowing up a dribble handoff or two. He also made an explosive chase-down block on Jonathan Kuminga, sprinting back to swat the Warriors forward’s layup.
Curry missed his first four field goals and Golden State began 3 for 18 from the field. The 10-time All-Star scored zero of the Warriors’ 15 first-quarter points.
Tyrese Maxey, who played despite being listed as questionable through the day because of an illness, also had a scoreless first period. For the night, Maxey managed just 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Curry finally scored on two free throws with 2:51 left in the second period. In 25 minutes, he finished with nine points on 2-for-7 shooting, three rebounds and one assist.
Offense a serious slog
The Sixers shot 2 for 14 from three-point range in the first half and trailed 48-45 at intermission.
Almost everything for the Sixers’ offense was difficult. Patrick Beverley circled around and under the hoop on one rough second-quarter possession, found himself under the rim with the shot clock almost expired, and ultimately turned the ball over. Kelly Oubre Jr. had several jumpers that were badly off line and started 2 for 11 from the floor.
The Warriors were the much sharper team to begin the second half, opening the third quarter with a 7-0 run. Curry’s only made three and two Wiggins triples soon extended Golden State’s advantage to 21 points.
In addition to appearing discouraged and depleted, the Sixers were simply short on healthy players and lacked the offensive talent to stop the Warriors’ surge. Maxey had an exasperated expression after seeing a Kevon Looney layup drop just before the third-quarter buzzer. After an uncontested Kuminga dunk early in the fourth, Nurse called timeout and subbed in rookie guards Terquavion Smith and Ricky Council IV. Kenneth Lofton Jr. later checked in as well.
Once Golden State got rolling Wednesday night, the Sixers’ firepower was woefully insufficient.