5 observations from Sixers-Warriors

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5 observations from Sixers-Warriors

The Sixers’ improbable 3-0 run to open the season came to a crash landing on Monday night with a 110-90 loss to the Golden State Warriors (see Instant Replay).

Though the teams have similar styles on offense, the Warriors had too much talent. Stephen Curry posted the second triple-double of the NBA season, going for 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He also had five steals and helped the Warriors force the Sixers into 24 turnovers.

Meanwhile, ex-Sixer Andre Iguodala scored a game-high 32 points on seven three-pointers in his second game at the Wells Fargo Center since being traded two years ago.

Here’s a look at a few other interesting developments from Monday’s game:

MCW vs. Curry
Fresh off being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week (see story), Michael Carter-Willams faced his toughest matchup on Monday night against Curry. That mostly has to do with Curry’s defensive ability and quickness as opposed to his long-distance shooting.

And since the Sixers allowed Iguodala to shoot the three-pointer, Curry piled up the assists, dishing out 12 including nine in the first half. When Curry finally got his shot together, the points came in bunches. In the third quarter, Curry scored eight points in the first 75 seconds.

After getting the triple-double, Curry did not play a tick in the fourth quarter.

Carter-Williams had a rough-looking line: 4 for 17, including 1 for 7 from three-point range with four assists and six turnovers.

Welcome to the league, rookie.

Iguodala comes back
The Sixers’ defensive strategy was to pack it in the lane in order to keep Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Klay Thompson away from the offensive glass. For the most part the Sixers were able to do that.

However, in protecting the paint, the Sixers allowed Iguodala to shoot the wide-open three-pointer and he made them pay.

Iguodala set a career-high with seven three-pointers, with six of them in the first half. His 32 points were two shy of his career-high set on Jan. 24, 2007, in the Sixers’ double-OT win over Cleveland.

Incidentally, Monday’s game was Iguodala’s second trip back to Philadelphia since he was traded after the 2011-12 season. His first game with Denver was at the Wells Fargo Center in which Iguodala had 11 points on 13 shots, including 0 for 4 from three-point range.

Thad T’d up
Thad Young rarely looses his cool, but he picked up a technical foul for arguing against a call in the second quarter. Chalk it up to the frustration that comes with a big loss and a 3-for-10 shooting night.

If they’re free, make them
Though the Sixers shot a season-high 37 free throws, they hit just 23 for 62 percent. That’s not terrible, but in the first half when the game was still in the balance (for a little bit, anyway), the Sixers were 12 for 21 from the line.

Interestingly, the Sixers went into the game shooting 75 percent from the foul line in the final three minutes of games.

Turnovers, turnovers and turnovers
Another interesting stat … going into Monday’s game, the Sixers had not committed a single turnover in the final three minutes of games. They had 24 total against the Warriors with Carter-Williams and Evan Turner combining for 11.

Speaking of ugly stats, Spencer Hawes was minus-41 in 26 minutes.

Yikes.

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

LAS VEGAS -- New team. Same old result.

Full of new star power -- and dominant on the inside -- the U.S. men's basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina.

A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shooting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players that seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

"There's a willingness from these guys to work on anything we need and to work hard," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "These are very good guys."

A U.S. team that hasn't lost a game in 10 years had little trouble with Argentina, which some consider a medal contender in Rio. Paul George scored 14 first-half points, Kevin Durant added 12, and the U.S. blew open the game early before an appreciative crowd on the Las Vegas Strip.

Even with Bryant retired and James taking this Olympics off, there was no real talent drop off on a team heavily favored to win gold once again. The depth of the U.S. showed as coach Mike Krzyzewski rotated players in and out, searching for the right combinations on a team with 10 new players from 2012.

"Nothing is for sure," Durant said. "We want to get this gold and right now we have a job to do. We have to prepare the right way."

Count the Argentines among those who were impressed at the first real game for the Olympic team.

"Obviously, they have the best talent and the best size in the world," Argentina's Luis Scola said. "That's a big difference in their favor."

The game was the first of five exhibitions the U.S. will play before traveling to Rio to defend the gold medal. The U.S. team has spent the last week practicing in Las Vegas in preparation for the tour and the games.

There weren't any opening night jitters, though the U.S. shot only 45 percent and missed all but 14 of 41 3-pointers. With DeMarcus Cousins pulling down 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes, the U.S. dominated inside, outrebounding Argentina 53-30.

"The big thing is getting in shape and they are not there where they will be," Krzyzewski said. "But we really have an inside presence on the boards."

For Durant the game was a chance to play with a pair of his new Golden State teammates, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. It was also a chance for Durant and Carmelo Anthony -- the only two players from the 2012 team -- to demonstrate that this will be their team in Rio.

Both players cheered from the bench as the minutes were spread around, jumping up to clap for teammates. Every U.S. player got quality time, with Green's 12 minutes the least played by any American.

"We're going to have fun and we're going to enjoy ourselves," Anthony said. "If it's not fun it's not worth it. We're going to enjoy ourselves but at the same time we're going to be focused in trying to get that gold medal."

Durant finished as the game's high scorer with 23 points, while George had 18 and Carmelo Anthony 17. Andres Nocioni had 15 for Argentina, while Manu Ginobili added 11 for Argentina, which lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics.

Though at times little defense was played, there was plenty of offense to keep the crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena happy. The teams combined to put up 70 3-point attempts, 41 of them from the U.S.

Oddsmakers had made the U.S. a prohibitive 29.5-point favorite in what at times looked a lot like an NBA All-Star game. But while the U.S. team is loaded with 12 NBA players, the Argentines had only three on their roster and the talent difference showed.

While the team is full of new players, the gold medal run will be the last for Krzyzewski, the national coach for the last decade. His teams have lost only one game during his reign, which will end after the Olympics with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich taking over.

Manu Ginobili intrigued by coach Brett Brown, Sixers before re-signing with Spurs

Manu Ginobili intrigued by coach Brett Brown, Sixers before re-signing with Spurs

The Spurs have been one of the most consistent NBA teams for nearly 20 years. They have made 19 consecutive postseason trips and won five championships during that span. 

The Sixers, on the other hand, are entering a phase of building a new foundation with a group of young players. They are working to improve upon a 10-win season, let alone making the playoffs.

Yet four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili saw more than records when weighing his options in free agency. The veteran point guard looked to the Sixers sidelines and was intrigued.

Head coach Brett Brown previously worked in the Spurs basketball operations department and on the coaching staff under Gregg Popovich. He was part of four championship teams in San Antonio. When the Sixers approached Ginobili this offseason, he gave them consideration before returning to the Spurs, where he has spent his entire 14-year career.

“The fact that Philadelphia had a great coach and a person I appreciate so much as Brett Brown, made it more appealing in the case the Spurs didn’t happen,” Ginobili told The Vertical on Thursday. “But the Spurs happened and they always had the priority.”

The Sixers reportedly offered Ginobili, 38, a two-year, partially-guaranteed deal worth around $30 million. The Spurs first offered him a one-year, $3 million contract. Ginobili ended up re-signing with the Spurs for one-year, $14 million. 

“It was not my main option. I never wanted to leave San Antonio,” Ginobili said. “But I had to listen to all the options that are there.”

Ginobili averaged 9.6 points, 3.1 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 19.6 minutes coming off the bench last season. The Sixers are adding veteran leadership, and Ginobili is one of the most experienced in the game. In addition to his reliability at the position, he could have been a mentor to the entire team and worked with Ben Simmons to help hone his point guard skills as the rookie big man plays point-forward. His years of international competition would have gelled with incoming players such as Dario Saric, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Sergio Rodriguez. 

The Sixers signed point guards Jerryd Bayless (three years, $27 million) and Rodriguez (one year, $8 million) this summer. T.J. McConnell and Kendall Marshall still are under contract. Last season's starting point guard Ish Smith signed with the Pistons at the start of free agency. 

Report: Sixers, Cat Barber agree to partially guaranteed deal

Report: Sixers, Cat Barber agree to partially guaranteed deal

It appears the Sixers will give Anthony "Cat" Barber a chance to help fill their need at point guard.

The Sixers on Thursday night agreed to a partially guaranteed deal with the NC State product, according to a report by The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

Barber will get his shot to impress during training camp and preseason after going undrafted in June. 

He forwent his senior season with the Wolfpack following a junior campaign in which he averaged 23.5 points per game, seventh most in the country and best in the ACC. The 6-foot-3, 173-pound guard, known for his elite quickness, averaged 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting 36.1 percent (43 of 119) from three-point range.

Barber played in four games with the Pelicans during the Samsung NBA Summer League, averaging 6.3 points in 11.8 minutes per game. He missed New Orleans’ final contest with a concussion suffered the game prior.

Barber will join guards T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez in camp. Kendall Marshall has a team option for next season. The Sixers also reportedly signed Brandon Paul to a partially guaranteed deal on Monday.