Warriors observations: What we learned in 107-96 win vs. 76ers

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Kendra Andrews
·4 min read
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What we learned as Steph scores 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 on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.

As in the Warriors' loss to the Boston Celtics two nights earlier, most of the notes from this game were positive. Curry put up another 30-plus-point performance, scoring 49, and hit at least 10 threes for the fourth time in his last eight games. Draymond Green had eight points to go with six rebounds, six assists and two steals; 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 you can't close out games. That, right now, is the final piece missing for the Warriors (29-29), although they took care of business this time.

Here are three takeaways from Monday's game in Philadelphia:

Kelly Oubre Jr. returns in a bench role

After missing the previous five games with a right wrist sprain, Oubre finally returned to the court. But he did so off the bench.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr opted to leave Kent Bazemore as the starting shooting guard because he liked 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 this way.

"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 in 22 minutes, and the second unit as a whole had another strong showing. Lee led the bench with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 32 minutes, and Poole added six points in 17 minutes.

Monday's game was the fourth in a row in which the Warriors' bench built or extended the team's lead in their first five to six minutes. Things got choppy in the fourth quarter for the bench, forcing Kerr to put Curry and 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: Green and Looney.

And with both having four personal fouls before the fourth quarter, the Warriors were without a big for periods.

Despite that lack of size, the Warriors held their own in the paint, something that becomes even more impressive considering they were battling one of the NBA's best centers 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 ticky-tack fouls that had become a nasty habit a few weeks ago.

They swarmed Embiid, throwing double teams at him nearly every possession. And while he finished with 28 points, he did so on 8-of-21 shooting. The Warriors also held the Sixers (39-18) to a 15-point third quarter.

Empty possessions were a weakness

In an overall good game, the Warriors' weak point was turnovers and too many empty possessions. That is what prevented them from creating any separation throughout the night.

Golden State committed 10 turnovers in the first half, alone, giving Philly eight free points.

The fourth quarter is when the wheels almost 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 made throughout the night suddenly became bigger problems.