Warriors mark CNY but Sixers spoil their joy

Stephen Curry, wearing the Golden State Warriors' Chinese New Year-themed uniform featuring the Chinese character for warrior, had 41 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. But the hosts lost 113-104 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Thu
Stephen Curry, wearing the Golden State Warriors' Chinese New Year-themed uniform featuring the Chinese character for warrior, had 41 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. But the hosts lost 113-104 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

OAKLAND • It was a day of many firsts for the Philadelphia 76ers as they upset two-time defending National Basketball Association champions Golden State Warriors 113-104 on Thursday.

Ben Simmons learnt before the road game that he would be joining teammate Joel Embiid in Charlotte after being named an All-Star reserve for the first time.

The Rookie of the Year went on to prove the selectors right, finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in what his coach Brett Brown said was the Australian's "best NBA game".

He hailed Simmons as "a tremendous leader", saying: "I thought he played the complete game."

Embiid was in similarly inspired form, adding 26 points and grabbing 20 rebounds to cancel out a monster 41-point performance from Stephen Curry.

The upset not only ended the Sixers' 10-game losing streak against the Warriors, dating back to 2013-14, but also snapped their 11-game winning run at home.

There was no Chinese New Year joy for the Warriors, who wore specially designed uniforms featuring elements of Chinese culture, such as the characters for "warrior".

It is the seventh time they have done so since 2015. The gesture is a nod to their huge fan base in China and the strong Chinese presence in the San Francisco Bay area where they are based.

Separately, 2017 Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook headed the list of reserves announced for the All-Star Game on Feb 17.

Simmons, Orlando Magic centre Nikola Vucevic, Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic and Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton will make their bows.

Seven reserves were selected by the league's coaches from each conference, joining the 10 starters who were announced last week.

However, the game will not feature a showdown between the Eastern and Western Conferences. Instead, LeBron James of the Lakers, the top West vote-getter, and the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, the top East vote-getter, will pick their sides. The teams will be determined in a two-round draft next Thursday.

REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2019, with the headline 'Warriors mark CNY but Sixers spoil their joy'. Print Edition | Subscribe