The Philadelphia 76ers seemed to have long odds to outscore the Golden State Warriors on March 2. With the Sixers becoming the lowest scoring team in the NBA and with the Warriors being led by Stephen Curry, Philadelphia had little firepower to brag about. However, the Sixers still won by 104-97 because they had more depth.
Curry ran all over the Sixers for 23 first-half points and 30 points overall, while Klay Thompson had 29 of his own. Yet the rest of the Warriors only had 38 points, which isn’t the way to win even against the Sixers.
Philadelphia not only hit its shots for the first time in weeks, it had more than two contributors. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner led the way with 27 and 22 points, yet they had additional support from Royal Ivey, Thaddeus Young and Dorell Wright. Ivey hit four straight three-pointers while Young had 14 points and 16 rebounds, as Wright also had 13 points off the bench.
When the Sixers nearly made the Eastern Conference finals last season, they won because anyone could contribute at any given time in a balanced offense. Yet that balanced attack returned for one night and helped the defense expose the Warriors’ lack of depth.
Curry burned through the Sixers in the first half, but he wasn’t going to have two 50 point game in one week. Once he slowed down, Thompson tried to pick up the slack and was all but alone. David Lee and Carl Landry combined for 25 more points, which added up to 84 of the Warriors’ 97 points being scored by four men.
The Miami Heat can win like that, since they are led by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen. But the Warriors are not as accomplished, star studded and battle tested as the Heat are. In fact, Golden State is in danger of losing its spot in the Western Conference playoffs if it isn’t careful.
If the Warriors have to be carried by Curry and Thompson on most nights, they won’t hold on in the West. The Sixers lost their place in the East because they forgot how to have a balanced offense, although they had a brief flashback to those better times last night.