Sixers' third-quarter meltdown to Warriors erases 22-point halftime lead in loss

Sixers forward Dario Saric covers his face after committing a third-quarter offensive foul against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

In the NBA, every team makes a run.

So everyone in the Wells Fargo Center knew it was coming.  It was just a matter of when, and how the 76ers would respond.

Well, the Golden State Warriors’ charge came in the third quarter, and the Sixers didn’t respond well. It all led to a 124-116 setback for the Sixers in front of 20,848 fans.

[Box score, play-by-play]

“I’m not surprised,” Sixers guard JJ Redick said of the Warriors’ comeback charge. “I’m a little surprised in the disparity in the third quarter. Obviously not our best basketball.”

The Sixers showed in the first half how good they can be.  Not just offensively, bout also how good they can be defensively and in executing their game plan.

“That third quarter was just too much to overcome,” Redick said.

The Sixers (8-7) basically crumbled in the quarter after setting an arena scoring record in the first quarter (47 points) and tying another one at intermission (74 points). But missing shots and an inability to stop the Warriors from draining them in the third quarter doomed them.

After trailing by 22 points at intermission, the Warriors (12-4) outscored the Sixers, 47-15, in the decisive quarter to take a 99-89 advantage into the fourth. The 32-point differential was the NBA’s largest  for any quarter in the shot-clock era. Golden State’s 47 points in the third quarter tied the arena record for points in a quarter that the Sixers set in the first quarter.

Steph Curry led the charge, scoring 20 of his game-high 35 points in the third quarter. The all-star point guard made 6 of 7 shots and all four of his three-pointers in the quarter.  As a team, the Warriors shot 68 percent in the quarter while the Sixers made only 31.8 percent (7-for-22) of their attempts, including going 14.3 percent (1-for-7) on threes in the quarter. The Sixers also committed seven of their 12 turnovers in the quarter.

The Warriors took the lead for good when Curry hit a pair of foul shots to make it a 90-89 advantage with 1 minute, 49 seconds left in quarter. That came in the midst of Golden State’s 14-0 run to finish the third.

“They are NBA champs with four all-stars, and we felt every one of them,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said of Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. “That’s a mood swing for sure.”

Durant scored 10 of his 27 points in the third. Six of Green’s eight points came in the quarter. Thompson had only two of his 17 points in the quarter.

Before then, this game had all the signs of an upset victory for the Sixers.

They shot 69.2 percent from the field and 58.3 percent on three-pointers in the first quarter to take a commanding 47-28 lead.  They had the most points by a single team in a quarter at Wells Fargo. It was also the most points the Warriors allowed in a first quarter since giving up 48 to the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 14, 1992.

The Sixers later tied the arena record the Washington Wizards set on March 1, 2014, for the most points when they led, 74-52..

Ben Simmons paced the Sixers with 23 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.

Joel Embiid (21 points), Robert Covington (20), Redick (20), Dario Saric (13, 10 rebounds) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (11) were the Sixers’ other double-digit scorers.

“We knew after coming out after halftime, we knew what we were getting into,” said Embiid, whose squad was also doomed by a 20-4 third-quarter run by the Warriors in a 135-114 loss on Nov. 11. “We knew that the first game, and we knew tonight that we needed to stayed locked in. We didn’t do a good job the first time, and we definitely didn’t do a good job the second time.”

Fultz update coming soon

Camera icon Winslow Townson / AP Photo
Markelle Fultz is out indefinitely, adding to the Sixers’ bad luck with first-round picks and injuries.

The Sixers are expected to provide an update on Markelle Fultz’s right shoulder on Sunday.

Sources expect the first-overall pick in June’s NBA draft will get a positive report while being reevaluated Sunday by surgeon Ben Kibler at the Shoulder Center of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. Kilber determined that Fultz had scapular muscle imbalance in addition to soreness in his shoulder during his first visit there on Oct. 29.

The guard previously visited two major league baseball doctors who specialize in shoulder injuries. All three doctors confirmed there’s no structural damage in his shoulder.

A positive result by Kilber doesn’t mean we should expect Fultz to play Monday night against the Utah Jazz at Wells Fargo Center.  It just means that he’s coming along according to the plan for his recovery.

Fultz has participated in passing, shooting drills, and dribbling drills after being sidelined since Oct. 25.

The Sixers recalled Furkan Korkmaz from the Delaware 87ers, their G-League team, before the game. The rookie guard was sent down to the Sevens on Friday, one day after the Sixers returned from their five-day West Coast road trip. He finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots and four turnovers in that night’s game against the Erie Bayhawks in Erie.

This was Korkmaz’s third G-League game.

He was called up because Fultz, reserve guards Jerryd Bayless (left wrist bruise), Nik Stauskas (sprained right ankle), Justin Anderson (left shin splints) and reserve center Jahlil Okafor all missed Saturday’s game.  Okafor missed the game to attend the funeral of former Sixers assistant coach Jeff Capel II.