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.

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The sprawling city skyline could have been the highlight of the Sixers' team dinner at One Liberty Place on Monday night. Instead, it was a surprise celebrity appearance that left them in awe.

Will Smith, who is part of the Sixers’ ownership, caught the players off guard when he visited with the team to offer advice and answer questions.

“Man, that’s one of my idols,” Nerlens Noel said following the first training camp session at Stockton University. “Everything he said I really took in and all the guys did too.”

Rather than entertaining the group with his acting or musical skills, Smith imparted important lessons that are applicable in sports. The 48-year-old has had decades of success across multiple platforms, and he offered pieces of wisdom that can resonate in any situation. 

“If you have bad people around you, that’s how people see you and that’s how you are,” Joel Embiid said. “He said to have good people around. That’s the main thing I got from that.”

The Sixers had differing memorable moments the morning after Smith’s visit, which demonstrated how many topics he addressed with the team. 

“He’s a good guy,” Ben Simmons said. “I definitely learned a lot from hearing him talk … You’ve got to look at things from a positive and negative with every situation.”

Jahlil Okafor was especially caught up in Smith’s appearance. Smith is Okafor’s favorite actor, most notably for his role in I Am Legend, and impressed Okafor with his character. 

“We already know about his accolades and how smart he is and obviously he’s an entertaining person,” Okafor said. “But it just seemed like he really wanted to be there to help us out. I just took away that he was a great person.”

Okafor also added, “It just helps [to hear from him] because the road to success is pretty much the same. It’s about being focused, it’s about knowing that you’re going to be knocked down, you’re going to fail. That was one of the messages that Will Smith shared, was expect failure but the main thing is to get back up.”

Noel previously had seen Smith courtside at Sixers games, and this was his first opportunity to hear directly from him. Noel listened to everything Smith had to say, from how to deal with the media to ranking his best and worst movies. 

“Never get caught up in too much of the negativity,” Noel recounted. 

While people view professional athletes as celebrities, the Sixers were on the opposite side Monday evening. 

“It’s hard to get starstruck nowadays,” Noel said. “But when you see Will Smith, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Cold can't keep Joel Embiid away from first Sixers practice

Cold can't keep Joel Embiid away from first Sixers practice

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Joel Embiid awoke Tuesday morning and was still feeling ill from a cold and virus he has been battling since last Friday. He had been coughing, experiencing a bloody nose and even vomiting, but all those symptoms could not stop him from a day he has been eyeing for over two years: his first NBA practice.

Embiid had stayed back in Philadelphia on Monday night while the Sixers traveled to training camp at Stockton University in South Jersey. On Tuesday, he decided to leave the city and join the team on campus.

“I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘I waited too long for this time, so I’ve got to go and try to do some work in there,’” Embiid said.

Embiid had been sidelined by foot injuries since the Sixers drafted him third overall in 2014. Tuesday marked his first NBA practice, and he is eyeing his first preseason game next Tuesday against the Celtics.

Embiid was not expected to be part of training camp Tuesday because of his illness. He surprised the team when he arrived while practice was underway. The Sixers' medical staff cleared him before he took the court.

“He forced himself into practice today,” head coach Brett Brown said. “He said, ‘I feel good, I want to go.’ With the time that he has put in the last few years, he meant it. You respected that instruction.”

Embiid is following a minutes restriction during training camp, which currently is 25 minutes for the morning session and 20 minutes for the evening session. His previous physical restrictions have been lifted and the team is monitoring him for workload and time on the court.

“I step back and figure out how do I want to spend my money?” Brown said. “If we’ve got X amount of time, where do I feel like he can make the most improvement? Where do I feel like he’s going to have the best chance to get on the court and play minutes, as we expect against the Celtics?”

Tuesday morning’s session focused on the defensive end. While Embiid had trouble breathing at points and tired quickly, he made an effort to give 100 percent on the court. The only lags in Embiid’s game Brown noticed were attributed to his illness, not because of his foot.

“I don’t think he’s missed a beat from a great month of September,” Brown said.

The Sixers sensed the enthusiasm from Embiid. Regardless of his restrictions, his energy was felt among the team.

“When he did get in, he played well,” Ben Simmons said. “He’s a big inside presence. He got a lot of boards and crashed the offensive glass.”

Added Jahlil Okafor: "He’s excited to be here. Obviously, he’s had a couple tough years with his injuries that he couldn’t control. But he’s finally here and he’s taking advantage of that."

The Sixers will hold training camp through Friday at Stockton University. Embiid is looking to push past any symptoms to be on the court as much as he can.