Coming off four losses in their last six games, the Golden State Warriors got back on track with a 120-117 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday.
During the Warriors’ recent swoon, they lost back-to-back games against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. Continuing their Eastern Conference road trip against one of the best teams in the NBA didn’t seem like the right opportunity to turn things around. Both teams were playing at less than full strength. The Warriors didn’t have Klay Thompson because of a sore knee. Joel Embiid remains out of action with a knee injury of his own.
After trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Warriors outscored Philadelphia 65-50 over the final 24 minutes to steal the win.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 34 points, in addition to grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. Stephen Curry had 28 points on 10-of-23 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins added 25 points and eight rebounds.
Ben Simmons posted a triple-double of 25 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Tobias Harris finished with 20 points but was held to just four after halftime. Jimmy Butler was inefficient with 21 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
One hallmark of the Warriors during this run of three championships in the past four seasons has been an uncanny ability to overcome every seemingly insurmountable hurdle in their way.
Whether it was trailing 3-1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals or facing elimination twice against the Houston Rockets in last year’s conference finals, the Warriors have never wavered. The one exception came in the 2016 NBA Finals when Golden State blew a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that has proven to be an anomaly.
This season, though, has seen the Warriors endure more valleys than at any point in the Steve Kerr era. After a modest 23-13 start, they caught fire with 17 wins in 19 games from Jan. 5 through Feb. 21.
One reasonable explanation for why the Warriors look more vulnerable this season than they had at any point since 2014-15 is a lack of depth. Durant, Curry and Cousins had 87 of the team’s 120 points against the 76ers. “It gets harder every year,” Kerr told reporters after Golden State’s 103-96 loss to the Orlando Magic. “But we’re still in a great position and put ourselves in a good spot.”
One positive sign is Cousins looks like he’s starting to get his legs back under him. The 28-year-old has scored at least 20 points and is shooting 56.5 percent (26-of-46) in each of his past three games.