Stephen Curry powered an absurd comeback against the Philadelphia 76ers, and it started with an explosive third quarter.
Derrick Favors – 25 points, 11 rebounds, three assists
Before we get into everything else, I wanted to show some love to Derrick Favors. He and the Utah Jazz beat the Orlando Magic to a pulp, leaving Florida with a 40-point win under their belt. Favors was their second-best player behind Rodney Hood. Favors rolled to the basket like a boulder getting pushed downhill, and the plethora of uncontested looks is how he managed to shoot 10-of-12 overall. He also dominated the offensive glass, cleaning the easy shots that his teammates missed. Saturday was just the latest instance of Favors stepping up, and he’s averaging 15.8 points and 10.0 rebounds in the five games Rudy Gobert has been out.
Stephen Curry – 35 points, five rebounds, five assists
During the second quarter, the Philadelphia 76ers led by as many 24. Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors erased that in 12 minutes, outscoring the Sixers 47-15 in the third. They never looked back. Curry got hot and erased the memory of his dismal performance against the Boston Celtics. He collected 20 of his 35 in that frame, knocking down an array of mid-range jumpers to complement his three-ball, which fell with much more regularity. He also finagled his way to the free throw line nine times (in total) and was so hot he could’ve shot them all with his eyes closed. Golden State, as a team, got a couple of calls that could’ve gone either way. It didn’t decide the game, but it helped keep the momentum on their side. However, when the officials feel like you’ve earned those calls, there’s nothing the opposing team can do.
Ben Simmons – 23 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds
Ben Simmons is an extraordinary talent. That’s impossible to debate at this point. It’s an absolute joy watching him play, and he’s on pace to arguably have the best rookie season of all time. Everything he does is effortless. He bullies his way into the paint and is so strong that it’s challenging to impede his progress. Moreover, his basketball IQ is off-the-charts, and he executes passes like a 6-10 Chris Paul; in Saturday’s game, he had one turnover to his 12 assists. It helps to have someone like Joel Embiid, but Simmons has that intangible ability to elevate the levels of everyone around him. And he puts them in the position to be successful. The Warriors, unfortunately, did what they do best and overshadowed Simmons’ incredible outing.
- Kyrie Irving – 30 points, five assists, four rebounds
- James Harden – 29 points, seven assists, five rebounds
- Rodney Hood – 31 points, five rebounds
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