PHILADELPHIA — The Golden State Warriors arrived here with a choice for the 76ers on Saturday night.
“You’ve got Kevin (Durant) in a corner,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “You’ve got Steph (Curry) in a high quadrant. You have a choice of getting hit with this gun or this cannon. Which one do you choose?”
The defending NBA champion Warriors (11-4) met the 76ers (8-6) before a sold-out Wells Fargo Center in one of most anticipated regular season games of Philadelphia’s “Trust the Process” era Saturday night.
The Warriors boast unmatched star power in Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
“They’re the gatekeepers of our league,” Brown said. “You have four All-Stars, and their role players are pretty darn good also. You have athletes who can bury (3-pointers) and are unselfish. They represent a lot of what we’re trying to do here.”
Philadelphia began its rebuilding project — dubbed “The Process” — in 2013. The 76ers went 75-253 the past four seasons. But while that losing took place, their fans dreamed of nights like Saturday.
Excitement was high not only because the Warriors were the opponent but also because Philadelphia just completed a 3-2 West Coast trip. Philadelphia did lose at Golden State 135-114 on the second game of the trip on Nov. 11.
“I thought we matured on the road,” Brown said. “I thought we did a really good job of executing stuff at the end of games.”
76ers center Joel Embiid has added to the game’s anticipation and intrigue with his performance Wednesday night — a 115-109 win at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Embiid kept 76ers fans up late with 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks. 76ers rookie Ben Simmons added 18 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.
It was a performance that 76ers fans went crazy with joy on Twitter, having visions of a future with Embiid and Simmons’ dominance dancing in their heads.
Embiid scored just 12 points on 4 of 11 shooting in the loss to Golden State.
“He looks a lot different than he did a week ago,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said before Saturday’s game. “Something happened. That Laker game was scary. He’s learning every single game. His confidence is I’m sure sky high. He’s a handful.”
Saturday’s game began a stretch of six straight home games for the 76ers. They played 10 of their first 14 games on the road. That they began Saturday two games over the .500 mark with so few home games was encouraging.
“We get a little greedy,” Brown said. “We feel like we could be in a little bit better position. But we’ll take where we’re at.”
Saturday was Golden State’s only visit to Philadelphia this season. It was a chance for Embiid and the rest of the 76ers to again measure themselves against the NBA’s best.
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