The Philadelphia 76ers have finally concluded their long and difficult six-game road trip on Wednesday night. After going 2-3 in games against the Pacers, Jazz, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, and the Kings, the Sixers paid a visit to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday to participate in the sixth and final game of the stretch.
Wednesday's game was never easy in the eyes of the Sixers. Through the first 17 games of the season, the Warriors have been the NBA's best as they possessed a record of 15-2 heading into the matchup.
And unfortunately for the Sixers, their popular trend of playing shorthanded continued as well. Although the Sixers got Seth Curry and Danny Green back in the fold after they both missed the previous game, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris remained off the court for the night, leaving the 76ers to trot out a starting five of Andre Drummond, Georges Niang, Matisse Thybulle, Seth Curry, and Tyrese Maxey.
At first, all was going well for Philly. As they came out quick in the first quarter, the Sixers outscored the Warriors 34-23 through the first 12 minutes of action. While Golden State scored more in the second quarter, the Sixers remained neck and neck with them before heading into the half with a nine-point lead.
At a point, the Sixers led by as much as 19. But before the game reached halftime, it was clear that a momentum shift was on the horizon. Sure enough, Steph Curry and the Warriors dominated the third quarter and went into the final period of the outing out in front of the Sixers.
"We stalled scoring," said Sixers guard Seth Curry. "I mean, they got a lot of elements to their offense. Steph draws a lot of attention, so that gets other guys going, gets them easy looks. You also got to key in on him and not let him have a big outburst. It's tough, but their defense is just as good, so we got to keep scoring, and that's where we stalled in that third quarter, I felt like -- it's tough to say. We just ran out of juice a little bit."
As the Warriors lit it up from beyond the arc in the third quarter by hitting on 63-percent of their shots, the Sixers struggled to counter the attack as they drained just 29-percent of their threes on one fewer attempt. In addition to struggling to keep up in a shootout with the Warriors during the second half, Doc Rivers saw his team struggling to take care of the ball.
"We just turned the ball over, and they played well," Rivers explained. "I thought we got away from our formula. I thought we played great in the first half. I thought the last four minutes before the end of the first half really cost us and then the beginning of the third quarter."
In total, the Sixers turned the ball over 21 times throughout the night, which translated to 38 points. While the Warriors played excellent basketball and proved why they are at the top of the league against the Sixers on Wednesday, Rivers believes that the Sixers' struggles were preventable.
"I thought a lot of it was self-inflicted from us," Rivers continued. "I didn't think it was anything. Their pressure, their defensive pressure, changed the game, and we turned the ball over. We allowed them to get out running but other than that, we're just coaching, and the players are playing."
Despite getting off to a strong start and even hanging around when the Warriors stole the momentum and got out in front, the Sixers garnered a significant loss on Wednesday night as they fell short 116-96. With that loss, the Sixers move to 10-9 on the year, wrapping up their six-game trip with two wins and four losses.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.