Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A Golden State Letdown

The Golden State Warriors looked good tonight. They looked quick, fast, athletic. They shot 9 for 119 from the three-point line. The thing is, they're 25-44 on the season. So it's hard to tell if they looked good, or if the Sixers just played poorly. I think it was more of the latter than the former. The Sixers lost, 119-111.

A Golden State Letdown

Sixers coach Tony DiLeo discusses strategy with his players between the third and fourth quarters.
Sixers coach Tony DiLeo discusses strategy with his players between the third and fourth quarters.

The Golden State Warriors looked good tonight. They looked quick, fast, athletic. They shot 9 for 119 from the three-point line. The thing is, they're 25-44 on the season. So it's hard to tell if they looked good, or if the Sixers just played poorly. I think it was more of the latter than the former. The Sixers lost, 119-111.

Although the Warriors record is sub par, they play well at Oracle Arena, and have a much better record when guard Monta Ellis plays.

The Sixers shot 38.0 percent from the field. That's bad. They couldn't finish around the rim. The Warriors could, they shot 56.5 percent.

What's disappointing about this loss is the Los Angeles Lakers win. That game felt like they stole one. This game felt like they gave it back. They had a day off on Thursday, so it's tough to say they weren't rested. Obviously, one day of rest does not offer much, but in the NBA it seems to be about as much as you're going to get.

Still, the Sixers didn't just bag this one in the fourth quarter. It looked, when they got down, what was it -- 18 points? -- that it might stay right around there for the rest of the game. But the Sixers cut it to six with about 1:55 left in the game. That's closer than I think most of the soldout crowd in attendance, half of which had already left, thought this game would be. It was the missed three-pointer in the left corner from Lou Williams that seemed to be the best chance for the Sixers to get back into this game. That came with about 1:20 left and would have cut the game to three points.

The Sixers don't play tomorrow. They play the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, then the Portland Trailblazers on Monday. They -- or more specifically Andre Miller said -- wanted to win three games on this swing. That means they have to sweep these last two games.

As has been the tradition on this late, late, late-breaking Western swing, here's the final story with quotes from the Sixers.

By Kate Fagan
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND, Calif. – The lights went out last night in Oakland.
Literally, inside Oracle Arena, the lights went out.
And figuratively, inside Oracle Arena, the 76ers disappeared into a patch of darkness.
At the end of the work week – a week which began with a monster win over the Los Angeles Lakers – the Sixers were beaten 119-111 by the high-flying, thunder-dunking show that was the Golden State Warriors.
Although it couldn’t have been this frequent, it seemed as if the Warriors dunked every second possession in the decisive third quarter, one such slam – a left-handed tomahawk by Brandan Wright, who scored a career-high 25 – sent Warriors center Ronny Turiaf dancing back up court, slapping his head in celebration.
Earlier in the quarter, with 9 minutes, 3 seconds remaining, a power failure inside the arena abruptly shut off the lights, making the court seem more like the scene of a concert than a basketball game.
The lights did not immediately restore to full power, but gradually returned. Rather than waiting for the lights, both teams agreed to play in the altered conditions: as the lights returned from dim to bright.
“Both teams agreed to those conditions,” explained Sixers coach Tony DiLeo.
“That’s when they went on the run,” said Sixers point guard Andre Miller. “It was tough to see when you’re shooting. They were getting layups in the dark and we were taking shots.”
By the fourth quarter, the lights – if not the Sixers – were back to full strength.
After trailing by as much as 18 in the fourth quarter, the Sixers cut the game to six points late in the game, and had a chance -- by way of a Lou Williams three-pointer -- to make it a one possession game.
The loss drops the Sixers to 34-33. The win improves the Warriors to 25-44.
Sixers center Samuel Dalembert had 15 points and 23 rebounds; he grabbed 11 offensive boards, which would have made an even greater impact if the Sixers didn’t finish the game shooting 38.0 percent.
“We got good shots,” DiLeo said. “We missed so many around the basket.”
It didn’t start that way.
But what began well last night for the Sixers quickly went bad: They began the game with a 14-2 run, making their first five shots, their first four free throws, and slowing the young, quick-shooting Warriors.
At the time, Oracle Arena was not even half full, the late-arriving, sold-out crowd leaving patches of vacant blue seats throughout.
Fifteen minutes, and an 18-2 Golden State run later, those seats were filled and the Warriors were ahead, 20-16.
After each team had made its initial run, the pace settled to a back-and-forth and the quarter ended – with more scoring than defending – and the Sixers ahead 33-31.
Despite shooting only 40.0 percent from the field in the first quarter, the Sixers took 10 more shots, snagging eight offensive rebounds, six of them from center Samuel Dalembert.
On Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, the Sixers allowed 126 points – 30 more than their defensive average.
By halftime last night, against the quick-running, strong-shooting Warriors, the Sixers had already allowed 62 points. The Warriors finished the half shooting 6 for 12 – 50.0 percent – from beyond the arc.
The Sixers struggled to score in the second quarter: starting shooting guard Willie Green scored 10 points in the first, but played only a few minutes in the second and didn’t take a shot.
With the second unit – Reggie Evans, Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, and Royal Ivey – sharing the reserve minutes, the burden for scoring fell to Speights and Williams, who combined for 19 first-half points.
The first-half shooting numbers of the starting lineup, except for Green, were bleak: Iguodala 1 for 5, Thaddeus Young 4 for 12, Samuel Dalembert 2 for 7, and Andre Miller 1 for 3.
The Sixers shot 38.5 percent in the half, but out rebounded the Warriors, 28-16.
The Warriors shot 53.5 percent from the floor in the half.
 
Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.
 
--Kate
About this blog

Keith Pompey is in his first season covering the Sixers for The Inquirer after covering the Temple men’s basketball team for the past three years and Temple football the past two seasons.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Narducci also has a true passion for South Jersey scholastic sports, which he has covered for many years.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
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