SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The 76ers arrived here late Thursday night, still beaming after arguably their biggest regular-season victory in Brett Brown’s six-year coaching tenure.
Hours earlier, the Sixers did the unthinkable, beating the Golden State Warriors, 113-104, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
The victory did more than snap the two-time defending NBA champions’ 11-game winning streak. It marked their first win against the Warriors since a 104-97 decision on March 2, 2013, at the Wells Fargo Center. Golden State (36-15) had won 10 consecutive games against the Sixers (34-18) and six straight in Oakland.
“We all get greedy,” Brown said following the game. “We want more. But to dismiss it and to sort of dust it off, that it’s another game, it isn’t another game.
“It’s a big win for our young team and I’m very proud of them.”
The Sixers will look to cap their four-game, West Coast road trip with a win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night at the Golden 1 Center.
The Kings (26-25) won last season’s two series meetings and boast one of the league’s top young guards in De’Aaron Fox. The second-year point guard is averaging 17.4 points, 7.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He ranked ninth in the league in both assists and steals per game as of Friday.
The Sixers, however, have won two straight and seventh of the last nine games. They are 5-2 seven games into a stretch of 12 consecutive games against teams with winning records.
On Thursday, they were sparked by their All-Star tandem of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, who both finished with 26 points.
After struggling from the field in the first half, Embiid had one of his usually dominant performances. In addition to his 26 points, the center had a game-high 20 rebounds, five assists and four steals. His lone blemish: He committed eight of the team’s 19 turnovers.
Simmons shot 10-for-13 from the field and added eight rebounds, a team-high three steals, and a block. His block was one of the game’s clutch plays. With his team up by seven, Simmons blocked Stephen Curry’s 28-foot, three-point attempt with 1 minute, 57 seconds left.
JJ Redick (15) and reserve Landry Shamet (10) were the Sixers' other double-figure scorers. Curry, the Warriors' perennial All-Star and two-time MVP, finished with a game-high 41 points. Klay Thompson, Golden State’s five-time All-Star shooting guard, did not play because he was sick.
Curry shot 10-for-18 on three-pointers, and his teammates went 1-for-20 from deep.
“We are getting better, you can see it,” Embiid said.
Embiid was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference player of the month for January on Friday.
The center averaged 29.2 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 blocks while leading his squad to an 11-2 record in the games he played in. He posted double-doubles in 11 of those 13 games, finishing with at least 30 points and at least 10 rebounds on five occasions.
Embiid’s impact was felt in the two games he missed. They were upset by the struggling Atlanta Hawks at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 11. Then the Sixers suffered a 16-point road loss to the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 26.
He is the first Sixer to win a player of the month award since Allen Iverson in April, 2005. Embiid joins Hall of Famers Iverson (four times), Julius Erving (three), Charles Barkley (twice), and Moses Malone (twice) as the only players in franchise history to win the award since its inception during the 1979-80 season.
Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokoumpo, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell and Simmons were the other players nominated.