On Monday night the Philadelphia 76ers finally felt what it was like to be on the other side. After a week of taking opponents by surprise, playing free and easy and getting up and down the court, the Golden State Warriors ran them out of their own gym. The previously undefeated Sixers are now 3-1.
The final score was 110-90, but it could have been much worse. Golden State shot 15-38 from beyond the arc and at one point led Philadelphia by 39. Former Sixer Andre Iguodala had 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. After the game, the quotes out of the Sixers locker room sounded an awful lot like the ones in opposing ones over the past week, via the Philadelphia Daily News' Bob Cooney:
"I think it gets deflating when you turn it over a lot and they run and they punish you with threes and they're skilled in open court," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "I think it gets deflating when that happens."
"When teams are shooting like that the scouting report kind of goes with the wind," said Spencer Hawes, held to just five points after missing five of his six shots. "You're just kind of putting out fires everywhere and hope that maybe you can make them make enough passes where no one is getting an open look. I don't think we did that tonight."
Hours after winning Eastern Conference player of the week, Philadelphia guard Michael Carter-Williams had his first subpar performance of his regular season career. His line of 18 points, six rebounds and four assists looks fine, but Carter-Williams shot 4-of-17, including 1-of-7 on three pointers. He also had six turnovers. This is more in line with what was expected of him as a rookie. Carter-Wiliams acknowledged that he struggled, via the Philadelphia Inquier's Keith Pompey.
"I made some careless turnovers, a couple of tipped passes on careless mistakes on my part," Carter-Williams said. "You know my shot was not on. I was trying to make plays and take an open shot. As a basketball player, you have to do that: Stay confident on your off nights."
Sixers swingman Evan Turner had 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but he was just about the only Philadelphia player to have a good shooting night. The team finished 31-of-88 (35 percent) from the field, 5-of-25 (20 percent) from behind the three point line. Turner acknowledged that things weren't falling for the team, via the Delaware County Times' Christopher Vito:
Evan Turner in locker room: "Why is it so cold in here? Guess it signifies our night." #sixers— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) November 5, 2013
Liberty Ballers' Michael Baumann told Sixers fans that "the bloom is off the rose," and he is prepared for lots more losing.
This is the order of things--losses by dozens, in which the Sixers look skinny and unskilled for large stretches. Whether the 3-0 start and the brief flirtation with The Belt makes it easier or harder to swallow the pain of what will surely be at least half a hundred more losses before season's end depends on how you, personally, feel about having loved and lost.
In the meantime, welcome to the land of moral victories. We'll miss you, Belt. Pity you couldn't have stuck around longer.
Just a week into the season, we don't know if this Philadelphia team is closer to the one that won its first three games or the one that got slaughtered in its fourth. We do know the Sixers appear to be much more fun than originally anticipated. They're deficient in the talent department, so there will likely be at least some more blowouts like this in the future. In Philadelphia the hope is that there will also be more upsets.
Their next game is Wednesday versus the Washington Wizards.