Warriors observations: Steph Curry, Jordan Poole fuel big win over Sixers

What we learned as JP, Steph fuel huge win over Sixers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Welcome home, Warriors.

After winning back-to-back road games for the first time this season, the Warriors knew they would be in for a tough one when they welcomed the Philadelphia 76ers to Chase Center. Friday night was a playoff atmosphere, and Golden State rose to the challenge with a 120-112 win.

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The difference was the fourth quarter. Golden State (39-36) stumbled in the third, being outscored by 11 points. That had the Warriors down by nine points entering the final frame. Once the fourth began, they kicked into a different gear and outscored the Sixers 41-24.

Jordan Poole was unstoppable down the stretch, Klay Thompson made multiple big 3-pointers and all of Steph Curry's fourth-quarter points were when the game mattered most. The timing couldn't have been better. Winning basketball was witnessed in front of Dub Nation.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' third straight win.

Battle of the Stars

Friday night in San Francisco was a showdown of a two-time NBA MVP on one side, and someone doing everything he can to win his first on the other side. Curry and Joel Embiid are opposites in stature and style. Both are at the top of their sport, and can get fans out of their seats.

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Curry scored 29 points and was a game-high plus-20 in plus/minus. His final eight points came in the last three-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. He also added eight rebounds and was 8 of 11 on 2-pointers.

Embiid was sensational. He dominated, even when the Warriors played good defense. The big man scored 46 points with nine rebounds and eight assists. Embiid also took 22 free throws, two fewer than the Warriors as a whole.

The Warriors outscored the 76ers by 21 points when Embiid was on the bench.

Poole's Pace

For the Warriors, the biggest star was Poole.

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Poole's speed should be an asset to his advantage. At times, though, he can go full Tasmanian Devil and get lost or find his way onto the floor. Recently, speed has been his friend much more often.

He's using it to score and to dish. To end the Warriors' five-game road trip, Poole was getting to rack in Dallas. He used it as a creator and to help him take eight free throws against Philadelphia.

As he has struggled shooting from deep this season, though, Poole found his stroke this game. He didn't make more than three 3-pointers in a game during the Warriors' road trip, and shot 30.8 percent beyond the arc in that span of games. Against the 76ers, he was 6-of-11 shooting from downtown.

Through three quarters, Poole scored 14 points on 10 shot attempts. In the fourth, he scored 19 on nine shot attempts, giving him 33 on the night. The 23-year-old is stepping up at the right time.

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Big Implications

Every win gets bigger and bigger with the regular season winding down. The Warriors' defeat on the 76ers was huge.

Thanks to the Sacramento Kings beating the Phoenix Suns, the Warriors (39) now have more wins than the Suns and are tied in the win column with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, the Western Conference is wild.

Reinforcements are on the way, too. The Warriors still are holding hope Andrew Wiggins returns this season. They know Gary Payton II will.

RELATED: How GP2 already has made impact on Warriors before even playing

Payton sat on the bench with a sweater that read "FREE." He'll practice with the Warriors on Saturday, and could return on Sunday. The Warriors are in playoff mode, and the rest of the league knows it.

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