What we learned as Steph's 49 leads Warriors past 76ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
For the second game in a row, the Warriors played in a contest that taught them how to compete down the stretch.
But this time, the Warriors got the win, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 107-96 at Wells Fargo Center on Monday night.
Like their game against the Boston Celtics two nights earlier, most of the notes from this game are positive. Curry put up another 30-plus-point performance, scoring 49, and hit at least 10 threes for the fourth time in eight games. Draymond Green had eight points to go with six rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Kevon Looney added a career-high 15 rebounds and Kelly Oubre Jr., Jordan Poole and Damion Lee put together a strong bench showing.
However, no matter how good the pieces are, it doesn't matter if they can't close out games. That, right now, is the final piece missing for the Warriors (29-29).
Here are three takeaways from Monday's game:
Kelly Oubre Jr. returns in a bench role
After missing the previous five games with a right wrist sprain, Kelly Oubre Jr. finally returned to the court Monday night. But he did so off the bench.
Steve Kerr opted to leave Kent Bazemore in as the starting shooting guard because he has like how this starting unit has opened games, citing good energy. There isn't a timetable for how long the Warriors will ride this lineup and rotation but expect Oubre to be part of the second unit for the time being, especially if both the starters and bench players continue to play as they have been.
"If we can maintain the same energy that we've had at the start of games with that starting lineup, and then bring Kelly in to be a force off the bench, I think it could make a big impact," Kerr said pregame.
In his sixth-man debut, Oubre scored nine points, as the second unit as a whole had another strong showing. Damion Lee led the bench with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Jordan Poole added six.
Monday's game was the fourth straight game where the bench built or extended the team's lead in their first 5-6 minutes. Things got choppy in the fourth quarter for the bench, forcing Kerr to put Curry and Draymond Green back in the game about two minutes early, but it was an overall good showing from the second unit.
Good paint presence despite lack of bigs
With Juan Toscano-Anderson out indefinitely, the Warriors are down to just two true bigs: Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
And with both having four personal fouls before the fourth quarter, the Warriors were without a big for periods.
Despite Golden State's lack of size, the Warriors held their own in the paint, something that becomes even more impressive considering they were battling against one of the best centers in the league in Joel Embiid and an above-average backup in Dwight Howard.
The Warriors outrebounded the 76ers 45-42, and managed to defend around the rim without committing the tick-tack fouls that had become a nasty habit a few weeks ago.
They swarmed Joel Embiid, throwing double teams at him nearly every possession. And while he finished with 28 points, he did so on 8-of-21 shooting, something the Warriors can live with. They also held the Sixers to a 15-point third quarter.
Empty possessions are the weak point
In an overall good game, the Warriors' one weak point was turnovers and too many empty possessions. That is prevented them from creating any separation throughout the night.
Golden State committed 10 turnovers in the first half, alone, giving the 76ers eight free points. Philly has six more shots -- have made the same amount.
The fourth quarter is when the wheels came off for the Warriors. Leading by five at the start of the period, their advantage evaporated as the Sixers went on a 10-0 run, and all of the little mistakes Golden State had been making throughout the night suddenly became bigger problems.