The undermanned 76ers were denied this time.
The Golden State Warriors defeated the Sixers, 120-117, in a thriller Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Philly was without All-Star center Joel Embiid, along with reserve centers Boban Marjanovic and Amir Johnson.
The game came two nights after the Sixers ended a 19-game losing streak to the Oklahoma City Thunder while playing without Embiid and Marjanovic.
Ben Simmons hit a foul shot with 10.3 seconds left to pull the Sixers within two points (119-117). He was instructed to purposely miss the second foul shot, but the Warriors were awarded the ball because he failed to hit the rim.
“When I don’t have timeouts, and we got to do something coming back, I’ll do it all day every day,” coach Brett Brown said of choosing to intentionally miss a foul shot. "Miss it and try to get some level of a putback. I don’t feel comfortable with Golden State and especially that fact that I don’t have any timeouts.
“I think it’s questionable for me if you do have timeouts. When you don’t, that’s what we are doing.”
Warriors power forward Draymond Green, however, was surprised by the play.
“I didn’t understand that one,” he said. “I can’t say it did catch us off guard. They still didn’t get the clean rebound. It may have worked had he hit the rim. Nonetheless, I was shocked.
“I was also shocked that they fouled with 38 seconds to go.”
The foul Green is talking about actually came with 35 seconds left. That when Kevin Durant went to make a pair of foul shots to give the Warriors a 119-114 lead.
Then, after the Warriors were awarded the ball after Simmons’ intentional miss, Durant made a foul shot with 4.5 seconds left to put the Warriors up three. The Sixers had a chance to tie the score, but the referees ruled that Tobias Harris stepped out bounds while attempting a three-pointers with 2.1 seconds left.
Harris, who was being tightly guarded, thought he was pushed out of bounds on the play.
“At that time, we didn’t have any timeouts or anything, so we were just trying to get to the three-point line,” Harris said. "Obviously, when he threw it two guys came running out, I was already kind of leaning out-of-bounds. They said there was no push or anything.
“It was just a tough play, honestly, with no timeouts and having the ball at three-quarter court to throw it in.”
The Warrior ran the clock out en route to improving to 44-19. The victory enabled them to secure a winning record for the sixth consecutive season. The Sixers dropped to 40-23.
Simmons had on special shoes for his new friend, Ada Pickard, whose favorite color is yellow. Pickard, 10, is a child from the Make-A-Wish New Jersey chapter. She watched warm-ups, met the team, and signed Simmons’ sneakers.
Then she watched him finish with 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists for his 10th triple-double of the season. He also had nine of the Sixers’ 21 turnovers.
Reserve post player Mike Scott finished with 22 points while making 6 of 9 three-pointers. Jimmy Butler had 21 points and Harris 20.
Durant finished with a game-high 34 points, while Steph Curry added 28 points for the Warriors.
Jonah Bolden (12 points, 4-of-5 three-pointers) got his third consecutive start and sixth of the season. The rookie center played 21 minutes, 46 seconds in the absence of Embiid, Marjanovic, and Johnson.
Embiid missed his fifth game with tendinitis in his left knee. Marjanovic missed his second with a bone bruise and mild sprain in his right knee. Johnson has upper-back tightness.
Harris once again, started off strong for the Sixers in Embiid’s absence.
The power forward had 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting in the first quarter. He made 2 of 4 three-pointers as the Sixers led, 32-31, heading into the second quarter.
Harris finished with 32 points in Thursday’s win against the Thunder at Oklahoma City. Three nights earlier, he scored 29 points in the victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans.
Saturday was his ninth game since the Sixers acquired him, Marjanovic, and Scott from the Los Angeles Clippers before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
“He’s been carrying us,” Embiid said. “Especially offensively, he’s come up huge. The last game he’s been huge for us. He’s been a great addition to the team. And I’m happy to have him. That’s my type of player, especially at the forward position. You know, able to shoot the ball, create, and get me easy baskets.”
Embiid enjoyed the four games the two played together before his injury. He’s excited to get back to resume playing with Harris.
“Hopefully this summer we sign him back,” Embiid said. “But I thought the GM [Elton Brand] did a great job with this addition.”
The additions of Harris and Jimmy Butler, in a November trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, have created lofty expectations for the Sixers.
Sixers comanaging partner Josh Harris even told ESPN that he would not be happy if the team suffered an early exit in the playoffs.
“We’re going to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Harris said. “We have enough talent on our roster that if we play the way we’re capable of playing, we can beat any team in the East.”
The owner gave his feeling about being knocked out of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Sixers are 3-21 against the Celtics, including and Eastern Conference semifinals series setback in May.
Sixers coach Brett Brown was asked about Harris’ comments.
“I really haven’t read it,” Brown said before the game. “I did hear about it, and I don’t really have a reaction.”
The Sixers led, 67-55, at intermission while shooting 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from the field. The Warriors got back into the game with a 16-0 run in the third quarter.
Golden State was without All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson (right knee soreness) and reserve center Kevon Looney (right pelvic soreness).
Zhaire Smith had two points, three rebounds, and two assists during his debut for the Delaware Blue Coats in a 124-102 NBA G-League road loss Friday to the Maine Red Claws. The Blue Coats are the 76ers’ G-League affiliate.
“It’s been eight months since I played," he said, “So it was good [to be around] my teammates, running up and down the court.”
He and the Sixers have decided he will play in the rest of the Blue Coats’ G-League games. Smith is unsure if he’ll join the Sixers in the postseason.
The Sixers rookie was expected to return in December after being sidelined with an acute Jones fracture in his left foot. However, he remained out because of the negative effects from an allergic reaction to something he ate in September. The shooting guard revealed that the allergic reaction caused him to fall to 164 pounds from the 200 he weighed when drafted. He is up to 206 now.