Sixers down, seven more to go

Golden State's Stephen Curry (left) reaching for the ball against Philadelphia's T.J. McConnell during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the 76ers 117-105
Golden State's Stephen Curry (left) reaching for the ball against Philadelphia's T.J. McConnell during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the 76ers 117-105. PHOTO: REUTERS

Warriors claim 66th, remain on track to break the 1995-96 Bulls' record for most wins in a season

OAKLAND (United States) • On a night when Klay Thompson scored 40 points for the second consecutive National Basketball Association game and Draymond Green registered his 12th triple-double of the season, Golden State Warriors fans chose to voice their displeasure with coach Steve Kerr.

No, it was not because the Warriors were losing. In fact, the team were well on their way to a comfortable 117-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rather, the crowd's surprisingly audible collective groan was heard when Kerr had the audacity to take Marreese Speights out of the game in the middle of the second quarter after the fan favourite nailed six consecutive shots, including a pair of three-pointers.

"They have to realise," Kerr said with a chuckle afterward, "Mo has a shelf life. I wanted to tell the fans, 'Don't worry. I'm going to get him back in.' But you have to pay attention to that expiration date and get him out and get him a breather."

The Warriors' most valuable substitute in the absence of Andre Iguodala was plenty of good before he turned rotten, scoring 11 of his 17 points during a second-quarter runaway that gave Golden State control of the game.

"It's a great feeling to have fans behind you like that," the third-year Warrior said.

"Each player on the court needs to play hard for them."

The Warriors (66-7) completed their third consecutive season-series sweep of the 76ers with their 53rd consecutive home-court victory.

Also, their fourth straight win allowed them to move five games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (61-12) in the battle for the top seeding in the Western Conference play-offs with just nine games remaining.

Significantly, the Warriors joined the 1995-96 and 1996-97 Bulls as the only teams to win at least 66 games in consecutive seasons.

They now must go 7-2 the rest of the way to break the 1995-96 Bulls' record for wins in a season (72).

The Warriors have gone no worse than 7-2 in every nine-game stretch this season, and six of their final nine games are at home, where they have now won a record 53 straight regular-season games over two seasons.

"I know how much of a grind this is at this point," Kerr said.

"I'm proud of them. They continue to put forth the effort and grind out these wins. They're fantastic. It's not as easy as they make it look."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'Sixers down, seven more to go'. Print Edition | Subscribe