The night point guard Michael Carter-Williams was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, the Sixers were handed their first loss. Philadelphia hosted the Golden State Warriors, who took an early vicious lead with the help from former 76er Andre Iguodala. The Warriors blew out Philadelphia 110-90 Monday night.
How did the Sixers look? They made 31 of 88 shots. The rookie Carter-Williams looked like a rookie missing 13 of 17 shots as he failed to keep up with NBA star Stephen Curry. Curry finished with a triple-double (18 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds) in just 29 minutes.
What made the loss tough to watch was the fact that most of the damage came from former Philadelphia All-Star Iguodala. Iguodala, who only scored 26 points in the first three games, had a career-high seven 3s. Six 3s came in the first half alone.
Iguodala had the highlight of the night with a mid-air behind the back assist to teammate David Lee. Iguodala whipped it from the corner at about the 3-point line and hit Lee in stride down the lane that finished with a dunk. After that, even the Sixers fans had to respect the show he was putting on.
“I got a good look or two, and confidence started flowing,” Iguodala said.
Speaking of confidence, Philadelphia lost all of it by the third quarter. Even after the first few minutes of the opening quarter, the Sixers appeared slow and almost unmotivated. Brett Brown blames some of that on the consistent shot making by Golden State, who led the game by 39 at one point in the third quarter.
“When a team is hitting three-pointers like that, it’s demoralizing,” Brown said after the game.
The bottom line is that the Sixers need bench support if they want to be successful down the stretch. Brown says he is hoping for better work from the second unit. The Sixers entered Tuesday 20th in the NBA in bench scoring, averaging 28.3 points per game. Opposing benches have averaged 31.3 points against the Sixers. Guard Tony Wroten is the Sixers’ leading bench scorer, averaging 12.3 points.
“I feel there is a tremendous amount of weight on our starters,” Brown said. “We want to keep pushing our bench to assume the responsibility and understand their role.”
Fortunately for the Sixers, Brown is a magician in player development and always has high expectations. Philadelphia should be optimistic that Brown will find ways to score with the whole team, which in fact should relieve some of the pressure on the starters.
Nonetheless, the Sixers’ fans were disappointed with MCW. Don’t let the numbers deceive you. Carter-Williams put on a terrible performance, but keep in mind he was playing man coverage with Curry. The fans at Wells Fargo watched Curry cross-over MCW on at least four separate occasions. He was simply too fast.
Brown isn’t going to let the blow-out loss affect his mind-set. The team’s motto this year is “Together We Build,” and Brown knows that if he wants to build a championship team, he must stay grounded. “You’re never as good as you think you were, and you’re not bad as you think you are,” Brown said at practice on Tuesday.
Although they looked like the team everybody expected on Tuesday, they should be proud for getting any respect whatsoever. The majority of fans are pleased with the start of this year, and hopefully the Sixers continue to strive for improvement.
Their next game is Wednesday night when they host the winless Washington Wizards at 7:00 PM (EST).