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What we learned as two-way Wiggs returns in Warriors' blowout win

What we learned as two-way Wiggs returns in Warriors' blowout win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Andrew Wiggins showed why the Warriors might be better keeping him than trading him, scoring 10 of his 21 points during a game-changing third quarter as Golden State beat the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers 127-104 on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center.

Jonathan Kuminga extended his streak of consecutive games in double figures to 28, scoring 18 to go with six rebounds and a season high-tying five assists. Klay Thompson came off the bench and had 18 points, going 3 of 4 on 3-pointers. He ended as a plus-24, best on the team. Kevon Looney also came up big with nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

That was big for the Warriors (23-25) on a night when Stephen Curry was abnormally quiet offensively. The two-time scoring champ suffered through one of his worst shooting nights of the 2023-24 NBA season, going 2 of 7 from the field and scoring nine points, his lowest numbers since Jan. 7.

It definitely wasn’t a pretty beginning by any stretch of the imagination, but at this point of the season, the Warriors’ only concern is the finish.

The game was tight at halftime, but Golden State broke it open in the third quarter when it outscored the Sixers (30-20) by a 43-23 margin.

For the third consecutive game, coach Steve Kerr reached deep into his bench for work. This time it was a luxury rather than a necessity, like it was against the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks.

The victory pulled Golden State within one game of the No. 10 seed Utah Jazz in the chase for the Western Conference's final play-in spot.

The Warriors fell behind by 10 early before rallying to improve to 3-1 on their five-game road trip. Golden State plays at the Indiana Pacers on Thursday before returning to the Bay Area to host the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at Chase Center.

Here are the takeaways from Wednesday’s win in Philadelphia:

Good Wiggs shows up

In a season earmarked by his ups and downs, Wiggins had one of his better all-around games after sputtering in back-to-back games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Hawks then resting his sore ankle against the Nets.

Wiggins shot 9 of 14 and didn’t force anything. His jumper was smooth and he was very nice at the rim, like when he dunked a put-back following a Klay Thompson miss in the third quarter.

Wiggins also matched his season-high of 10 rebounds and was very effective defensively. At one point in the second half he faced a 3-on-1 fastbreak by the 76ers and was able to strip the ball free for a turnover.

Steph's shot missing

Surprisingly, no other player exemplified the Warriors’ early offensive problems more than Curry. He didn’t make a shot from the field in the first half (0 for 4) for the second game this season and the 21st time in his career.

Even when he seemed to find his stroke, things went wrong.

Curry drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and appeared to get fouled on the play in the first quarter. But after a replay, officials waved off the bucket and instead charged Curry with an offensive foul for apparently kicking his leg out.

Curry didn’t even score until there were fewer than three minutes left in the first half when he made a pair of free throws.

Another sputtering start

The Warriors have had issues with slow starts throughout the first half of the season, and that was certainly the case in the rematch with the Sixers.

Golden State missed 14 of its first 17 shots and finished the first quarter 5-of-22 shooting for just 15 points. Those were the fewest points put up by the Warriors in any quarter this season – they had 15 in the second quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 15. Before Wednesday, the previous low in the first quarter for the team this season was 20 against the Nets on Monday.

On the plus side, the Warriors countered their offensive struggles with steady play on the defensive end. Golden State forced six turnovers and didn’t allow a made 3-pointer in the opening 12 minutes.

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