Instant Replay: Warriors 123, Sixers 80

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Instant Replay: Warriors 123, Sixers 80

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Sixers’ 45-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night was obviously still on their minds when they took the court again on Monday.

So much in fact that the Sixers came close to a repeat performance.

The Sixers were crushed again, this time in a 123-80 loss to the Golden State Warriors, becoming the first team since the 1993-94 Sixers to lose back-to-back games by 40-plus points. The defeat was their seventh in a row to match their season-worst skid.

Former Sixer Marreese Speights had a career night with 32 points.

The Sixers were down 66-33 at the half just one night after being down 69-30 at intermission to the Clippers. They trailed by as many as 49 points on Monday.

Turning point
The Sixers were outscored 37-12 in the second quarter. Yes, they were inept offensively in the period, shooting just 6 of 26 (0 of 7 from three-point range). However, their lack of defense was the main culprit for the game becoming a blowout.

The Warriors shot 13 of 19 from the field (68.4 percent) in the quarter, including 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Follow the leader
Speights made his first seven shots and had 22 points at halftime. He kept pouring it on in the second half to finish with a career-high 32 points on 12 of 15 shooting. He also added eight rebounds.

Speights played extended minutes because the Warriors were down two big men as Jermaine O’Neal and Andrew Bogut were both sidelined with injuries.

Stephen Curry added 23 points and eight assists. He also led the Warriors with seven turnovers.

Michael Carter-Williams scored 24 points. Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young were the only other Sixers in double figures with 12 apiece.

Stat-egic
After making 9 of 14 three-pointers in the first half, the Warriors connected on 3 of 15 in the second.

It clearly didn’t hinder their success, especially with the Sixers connecting on just 2 of 16 attempts from long range themselves.

Take a bow
David Lee was a game-time decision because of a sore shoulder and strained hip. He warmed up well and told Golden State head coach Mark Jackson he wanted to play.

Lee scored 13 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out four assists in 20 minutes.

What’s next?
The Sixers travel to Utah to face the Jazz on Wednesday night in their final game before the All-Star break.

The Jazz (17-33) snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Miami Heat on Saturday. The Jazz face the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday before battling the Sixers.

Gordon Hayward leads the Jazz in scoring with 16.3 points per game and Derrick Favors is tops in rebounding with 9.2 per game.

Wednesday will mark the first meeting of the season between the two teams. The Sixers have lost eight straight games in Utah.

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens [Noel]-Jahlil [Okafor] thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist. 

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers' abundance of big men lends itself to numerous combinations in the frontcourt.

On Thursday, Nerlens Noel had his first experience playing with Ben Simmons. The center gelled with the rookie forward.

"It's a great duo, I think," Noel said following the morning practice session of training camp at Stockton University.

Noel has been paired with many big men during his career with the Sixers. Last season, he faced the challenge of playing out of position at times with Jahlil Okafor. The logjam prompted him to speak out about the current makeup of the roster (see story).

After playing with Simmons, Noel saw how the two can share the court.

"I think we complement each other very well, especially on the defensive end," Noel said. "He's definitely a lockdown type defender that digs in."

Even though Simmons has yet to play an NBA game, Noel already envisions how he can help the Sixers.

"He just plays basketball the right way," Noel said. "When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."