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Warriors survive Embiid's 46 points as Dubs knock off 76ers in big comeback
Its too bad James Harden couldn't be a part of this L.
So let me get this straight…
There’s 7 games left to go in the Golden State Warriors’ regular season, one year removed from adding another championship to their dynastic reign over the league. And during this regular season (as early as November) Bay Area publications like the SF Gate were telling Dub Nation to PANIC due to the team’s poor play.
Currently the champs have a road record of 9-29, a record so abysmal it’s only better than three teams in the NBA (Spurs, Rockets, and Pistons).
Greatest player in the league Stephen Curry has missed 28 games. All-Star Andrew Wiggins has been away from the team so long with an undisclosed personal concern that no one can be sure when, or if, he’ll return.
Jordan Poole earned a major contract deal, got punched by Draymond Green in practice, and then became one of the league leaders in turnovers.
The team also gave up on 2020 #2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, shipping him out in exchange for Gary Payton II, who was so injured at the time of the deal he hasn’t played a game yet for the Dubs and left the Portland Trail Blazers fan base completely unimpressed. Wiseman’s inability to get acclimated to the team were coupled with the teams two other lottery selections Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody having inconsistent starts to the year.
Also Wiseman’s departure means Green and Kevon Looney are the only big men on the roster despite none of them being taller than 6-foot-9.
And with all those factors swirling, somehow the Dubs came back from 11-points down last night in a must win game against a very dangerous Philadelphia 76ers team starring MVP candidate and giant behemoth Joel Embiid. Golden State’s 120-112 victory over Philly kept the champs in the sixth seed, only half a game back from the fourth seed in a very rough-and-tumble Western Conference race. WOW!
Three Guards That Are Unguardable
I’ve been giddy about the potential of Curry + Klay Thompson + Poole ever since that trio ripped through the Denver Nuggets in last year’s playoffs. All three of them can stretch the floor way beyond the arc. They can also knock down the mid-range jumper efficiently when the defenses run them off the line. They can also find sneaky ways to score around the basket despite none of them being freak athletes.
Last night Poole came off the bench to score 33 points, while Curry hit Philly up for 29 points and Klay added 21. This trio combined to nail 14-of-31 triples, lighting the 76ers up from beyond the arc. Here’s these three guard’s shot chart from last night; there’s a lot of territory the force the defense to guard:
Big Problems…or Big Bait?
The aforementioned Embiid rumbled his way to 46 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists in 38 minutes. He was doing whatever the hell he wanted, treating Green and Looney like traffic cones at certain points.
But for all the work he was putting in, his style of play led to a lottaaa two-pointers from Philly. The 76ers shot 8-of-29 from beyond the arc. By contrast, the Warriors shot 5-of-9 from deep in the fourth quarter alone, finishing 18-of-50 for the game.
Those 15 points off treys in the final frame were huge as Philly hit zero three-pointers in the last 12 minutes. That’s a +15 advantage in points from deep in the 4th quarter, and wouldn’t you know it, the Warriors outscored the Sixers 41-24 in that final period. Here’s Philly’s shot chart for those last 12 minutes:
It seems that even though Embiid was out there dominating, the Warriors could hang their hat on the fact that they have the greatest shooters in the history of the game alongside the young Poole who is soaking up their tutelage. Hmmm maybe the Warriors don’t need a 7-footer after all? NO, I REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON WISEMAN. TRADE FOR HIM BACK BOB MYERS!
Sooooooo, how we feeling Dub Nation? Three game win streak, big wins over Philadelphia and Dallas, and the return of Playoff Poole??? Let’s keep an eye on these other teams in the standings as the Golden Empire jostles for position in the Wild Wild West.