After back-to-back disappointing losses and the Philadelphia 76ers up 12 at halftime a third straight loss for the Golden State Warriors seemed inevitable. Yet, Damion Lee who started the second half in place of the injured Alfonzo McKinnie made several threes and played solid defense.
With Golden State trailing by 14 , Lee’s three ignited a 16-0 run. Unfortunately Stephen Curry also picked up his fourth foul early in the third. Replays clearly showed that an incorrect call got made as Draymond Green inadvertently made first contact and poked J.J. Redic close to his eye.
Curry attempted to plead his cause and it was to no avail. This meant he got relegated to the bench since the call did not get reversed.
Seemingly a momentum killing call and the 76ers went to work. Back-to-back threes by Mike Scott and a technical free throw made by Tobias Harris built the lead back up to six. Kevin Durant responded with a three of his own, made one of two free throws, Lee buried a three and came up with an offensive rebound leading to a Durant jumper and Andre Iguodala closed the quarter with a corner three giving the Warriors a three-point lead.
The fourth quarter went back and forth and Golden State failed to gain separation as Cousins and Durant missed a number of free throws. Resulting in Lee being brought back in. With 38.2 second Curry appeared to seal the victory with a lay-up pushing the lead to six.
A great play call by Philadelphia got Harris an open three, inexplicably with plenty of time remaining Scott fouled Durant who made both free throws. Golden State gave up a lay-up to Ben Simmons.
T.J. McConnell then came up with an effort play that gave the 76ers a shot at tying the game. He was able to stop an easy game winning lay-up for Durant and knocked the ball off his hands. The original call, Golden State ball and that got overturned. Green played aggressive defense on Simmons and got called for a foul with 10.3 seconds left.
Simmons made the first free throw and tried to miss the second one on purpose and ended up not hitting the rim on the attempt. Durant got fouled and split the free throws giving the 76ers one last opportunity to tie the game. Harris got the ball on the in-bounds, yet the defense of the Warriors forced him to step back to take the three which meant he was out-of-bounds on the attempt and the ball went back to the Warriors.
Golden State held on for the 120-117 victory.
For Philadelphia: Simmons led the way with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, Scott made six threes and finished with 21 points, Jimmy Butler added 21 points and nine rebounds and Harris finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Leading the way for Golden State: Durant with 34 points, Curry 28 points, Cousins with 25 points and eight rebounds and the aforementioned Lee the only other Warrior in double figures.
As the season winds down Lee’s play will give him opportunities to see more minutes and an expanded role if needed. It speaks volumes for him that he got used late in the fourth quarter.
Notes: This was the third straight game with 20 plus points for Cousins and Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson missed tonight’s game due to injury.