However, a third quarter collapse by the Sixers cost them the lead — and ultimately, the game.
Golden State, trailing by as many as 24 points, completed a 124-116 comeback victory on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center on the strength of their own 47-point third quarter.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team wasn’t “locked in, we weren’t focused.”
“I think just the embarrassment of how we played in the first half,” Kerr said. “We just didn’t compete.”
The signs of disinterest coming from the Warriors were apparent early in the contest.
Draymond Green picked up a technical early in the first quarter. Kerr called his second timeout four minutes into the quarter, just eight seconds removed from his first timeout, because he was livid with the formation of his players.
“That was all my fault,” Stephen Curry admitted. “I came out of a timeout and I didn’t know the play. Well, I knew the play but forgot it once I got out there. He’s been talking about our focus and executing in the half court, especially after coming out of timeouts. That’s the easiest thing to do as a point guard. It’s kind of unacceptable to literally four dribbles into the possession to not know where I’m throwing the ball.”
And on the final offensive execution of the quarter from a side out-of-bounds play, Kevin Durant turned it over, leading to a Sixers basket.
The Sixers were up 19 entering the second quarter, after leading by as many as 21 in the first.
Philadelphia’s 47 points in the first quarter were the most points the Warriors had allowed in any quarter since Nov. 14, 1992, against the Portland Trail Blazers (48 in the fourth).
Joel Embiid raised his arms in the first half, encouraging the crowd to get into the game, and when he visiting the charity stripe, chants of “trust the process” broke out. Philadelphia would take a 74-52 advantage to the half.
“We’re not used to being run off the floor,” Kerr said. “We’re usually the ones that’s playing with pace and energy. So, when you’re down 20 and you’re not stopping anybody, you just can’t turn it into a track meet.”
But Curry would erupt, and the Warriors would return the first-quarter favor.
“I think our guys felt like they had to get out there and start playing,” Kerr said. “And they did, and obviously, it was an incredible third quarter.”
Stephen Curry outscored Philadelphia 20-15 in the third quarter.
After Philadelphia (8-7) registered its largest lead of the game, up 76-52 just 38 seconds into the third, Golden State (12-4) went on an offensive and defensive onslaught. The Warriors put up 47 points themselves in the quarter, holding the home team to 15.
It was the Warriors’ fifth 40-point quarter of this season.
Curry outscored the Sixers all by himself in the third quarter on Saturday by pouring in 20 of his game-high 35 points.
“It was a fun quarter,” Curry said. “I honestly didn’t know how dominant it was … but crazy things happen around us, for sure.”
The last time the Warriors outscored an opponent by 32 in a single quarter was Dec. 15, 1972, at the Buffalo Braves (42-10 in the third).
Golden State, with all the momentum, began the fourth quarter against the Sixers on Saturday with a 99-89 lead. They couldn’t be stopped and never looked back from there.
“We didn’t want to lose to these guys, especially Joel. He would have went straight to Twitter start talking s—,” Durant said in humorous fashion.
Quick doubles on Embiid in the second half frustrated the big man and took him out of the game. He finished with 21 points on 7 of 16 shooting and eight rebounds. Rookie point forward Ben Simmons produced 23 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists.
Durant registered 27 points. Klay Thompson chipped in 17.
“It took us 24 minutes to get there,” Curry said, “but we found a way to give ourselves some life — and off to the races from there.”
Golden State travels to New York for a matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.