The Sixers (30-19) hosted the Golden State Warriors (22-25) on Wednesday. Philadelphia wanted to snap a two-game losing streak. Golden State wanted to build on Monday's win over the Brooklyn Nets. Bad second and third quarters doomed the Sixers in a 127-104 defeat.

Before we get to what I saw, some notes.

Contextual Notes

The Warriors were without the services of Chris Paul, who has a fractured left hand. Gary Payton II has a strained left hamstring and was not available.

Steve Kerr started Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and Draymond Green.

The Sixers were without the services of Joel Embiid, who underwent a corrective procedure to address a lateral meniscus injury in his left knee on Tuesday. He will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks.

De'Anthony Melton remained out as he recovers from a stress response to lumbar spine soreness. As did Nico Batum, who has a strained left hamstring.

Marcus Morris Sr. missed the game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Danuel House Jr. has a sore right foot and was out.

Robert Covington has a bone bruise in his left knee and remained out.

Nick Nurse started Tyrese Maxey, Jaden Springer, Kelly Oubre Jr., Tobias Harris, and Paul Reed.


- Nothing about the first half was pretty, but the Sixers' youth showed through. Credit to Nurse, first and foremost, for sticking Springer into the starting lineup. He fought on every possession on both ends of the floor until the very end, often catching the Warriors off guard by lingering around in case opportunities to steal the ball presented.

He battled for rebounds, throwing his body into crowds to try to rip the ball out of the air. Springer hit the deck if there was a loose ball to try to win the possession or force a jump-ball.

- His effort didn't stop there. The Sixers face-guarded Curry using Springer, who thus had the undesirable job of running through endless off-ball screens and keeping his head on a swivel to make sure the Warriors legend didn't slip free.

And when Curry wasn't on the court or Springer was briefly re-assigned to another white jersey, he didn't treat it as a break. He was all over the passing and driving lanes. There were a number of DHOs - a relatively low-risk action - that he snuck into the middle of, blowing up the play with a very slim window through which to operate.

Curry had just two points at halftime, largely because of Springer's efforts.

- It feels like we've said something along the lines of "where would Philadelphia's offense be without Beverley" a lot recently. It was more of the same in the first half. Beverley found his way to the rim with nifty moves on a handful of seemingly troubled Sixers possessions, kissing the ball off the glass at awkward angles to get Philadelphia on the board.

His offense has been such a surprise that I've turned to colleagues on press row on more than one occasion and asked if he showed this much juice at previous stops.

- Hey, at least Terq Smith keeps shooting. He's taking all the threes his teammates refuse to let fly.

- Nice scoring game from KJ Martin, who laced a pair of threes and attacked the rim without any reservations about Green or Kevon Looney lurking nearby. Easily his best game as a Sixer. But, will it be his last? [Tune in to tomorrow's episode of the NBA trade deadline to find out.]


- After a rather decent first quarter for Philadelphia, you could feel it quickly begin to slip with each bad possession. The central problem, of course, was that the offense stalled out. In Saturday's loss to the Nets, the Sixers couldn't make shots all night long. In Monday's loss to the Mavericks, the Sixers went ice-cold starting in the third quarter. On Wednesday, their spacing was awful and it junked everything up.

There were too many instances of limited offensive players standing around and crowding the ball, giving the handler no room to operate. There was no screening, no cutting, no attempt to identify the weakest defender in the action and find a way to get the ball-handler going towards that guy.

Plays dissolved into getting anything up towards the rim, resulting in turnovers and ugly misses. The only way this group is going to do anything on offense is by flinging the ball around the floor in hopes of finding small windows of space when defenders are out of position. But, letting the rock stick the way it did in the second quarter might as well be a death sentence.

- I can't beat the drum about Maxey not being aggressive enough for most of the season and then question his shot selection when he decides to leave it all on the court. What I will say is I think he's pressing because he knows the team is in a terrible way right now. He is taking some shots that he normally wouldn't, and he can't get anything to fall at the rim right now.

So, what it comes down to - and is as good a reason as any to go out and acquire a combo guard before tomorrow's trade deadline - is that you can't expect to stay afloat without Embiid by just trotting out lineups in which it's Maxey against the entire defense every game.

Not only are you going to exhaust him, but you might hurt his confidence. You can see the struggles - both team-wide and individual - are bleeding into his play. And if you don't notice it there, you can't miss it with his body language. Even if you don't think Embiid is coming back this season, you can't let it go on like this.

- Kudos to the Sixers, who managed to lose a game in which Curry scored just nine points. Impressive, wasn't sure if that was possible. Tells you just how desperately the Sixers need to get, um, half their regular rotation back.

The Sixers (30-20) will host the Atlanta Hawks (22-29) on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., Eastern time. You can catch the action on NBA TV.

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