Warriors, Speights torch tanking 76ers

ORACLE ARENA — The 76ers came into Oakland hoping to redeem themselves after a 123-78 clobbering from the Clippers Sunday night.

And then Marreese “Mo” Speights happened.

The Golden State backup forward and former 76er electrified the sellout crowd on his way to a career-high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting.

Warriors head coach, Mark Jackson, said Speights is a guy that stays late after practice to scrimmage, get extra conditioning, and is dedicated to getting better:

“I thought he was fabulous.  He has been working extremely hard and waited for his opportunity…He deserves this night because he put in the time.”

Leading by as many as 49, the Warriors handed Philadelphia a consecutive beating to the tune of 123-80.

After a 17-point second-quarter tear, Speights walked to the bench amid an ovation not heard in Oracle for months.  Then, with just over two minutes left in the third frame, Speights headed to the free throw line as the crowd chanted “MVP.”

Although he enjoyed the roars from the crowd, Speights said all he could do was laugh when he heard them chanting “MVP”:

“That was so funny, I just started laughing.  But at least they’ve still got trust in me.  That’s always good to have fans on your side.”

Speights blew past his previous career-high of 28 points, notched on Dec. 19, 2009 when he was team mates with fellow 76er turned Warrior, Andre Iguodala.

It was no surprise to Speights that both career nights were logged while sharing the court with Iguodala.  Speights told SFBay that Iguodala gives him confidence and makes him feel comfortable every time they’re on the court:

“It’s always special on the floor with Andre.  He’s a good friend, a good teammate and he’s always on the look out for me out there.”

But Speights wasn’t the only Warrior taking advantage of the hemorrhaging Philadelphia team.

An injured David Lee logged another double-double, Draymond Green dazzled in the opening frame and finished the night with a 11-point 11-rebound double-double, Harrison Barnes chipped in 11 points, and Stephen Curry who didn’t play in the final frame finished with 23 points.

Not much could be said for the 76ers, now 15-37 on the season, as they gave Golden State every look they wanted and didn’t have much in the tank offensively next to Michael Carter-Williams who finished with 24 points, nine of which came in garbage time.

The 76ers have now lost seven consecutive games and head coach Brett Brown said that keeping the teams spirits up has been a struggle:

“At times, you look up and you have to keep going and keep playing with some level of dignity, and it’s hard doing that .”

The Warriors, now 31-21 overall, take on the Miami Heat (35-14) Wednesday at Oracle Arena in their final game before the All-Star break.

Notes

The Warriors earned a 43-point win over the Sixers, which ties the Warriors’ largest winning margin ever over the franchise… The last time the Warriors beat the Sixers franchise by 43 points, the Warriors called Philadelphia home, defeating the then-Syracuse Nationals on Nov. 9, 1961… Wilt Chamberlain — whose bobble head was given away at tonight’s game — led the Warriors with 55 points in that contest. … After losing by 45 points to the Clippers last night, the Sixers lost by 43 points to the Warriors tonight, giving up 123 points in both games… The only other team to lose by 40 points in consecutive games was the 76ers on back-to-back nights in 1994… According to Elias, the combined margin of loss of 88 points is the third largest total margin of defeat in consecutive games by any team in NBA history. … Both of the former Philadelphia 76ers on the Warriors roster — Marreese Speights and Andre Iguodala — have scored a season-high 32 points in games against Philadelphia this season.


Follow @SFBay and @NBASarah on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Golden State Warriors.