OAKLAND, Calif. — On a night when Klay Thompson scored 40 points for the second consecutive game and Draymond Green registered his 12th triple-double of the season, Golden State Warriors fans chose to voice their displeasure with coach Steve Kerr.
No, it wasn’t because the Warriors were losing. In fact, the team was well on its way to a very comfortable 117-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup of the NBA’s winningest and losingest teams.
Rather, the crowd’s surprisingly audible collective groan was heard when Kerr had the audacity of taking Marreese Speights out of the game in the middle of the second quarter after the fan favorite nailed six consecutive shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“They have to realize,” Kerr said with a chuckle afterward, “Mo has a shelf life.
“I wanted to tell the fans, ‘Don’t worry. I’m going to get him back in.’ But you have to pay attention to that expiration date and get him out and get him a breather.”
The Warriors’ most valuable substitute in the absence of Andre Iguodala was plenty good before he turned rotten, scoring 11 of his 17 points during a second-quarter runaway that gave Golden State control of the game.
“It’s a great feeling to have fans behind you like that,” the third-year Warrior said. “Each player on the court needs to play hard for them.”
The Warriors (66-7) completed their third consecutive season-series sweep of the 76ers with their 53rd consecutive home-court victory.
Also, Golden State’s fourth straight win allowed the Warriors to move five games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (61-12) in the battle for top seeding in the Western Conference playoffs with just nine games remaining.
“I know how much of a grind this is at this point,” Kerr said. “I’m proud of them. They continue to put forth the effort and grind out these wins. They’re fantastic. It’s not as easy as they make it look.”
The 76ers (9-65), who took the Warriors to the wire before losing 108-105 at home on Jan. 30, played the defending champs evenly for 15 more minutes before Speights and fellow reserve Brandon Rush combined for all the scoring in a 13-0 burst that exploded Golden State into a 53-40 advantage.
The Warriors went on to lead 71-55 at halftime, and the 76ers, losing for the ninth game in a row, were never closer than 11 after that.
“We lost the first period by one, we lost the third period by one, we won the fourth period by five, and they just jumped us in a big way in the second,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “You can never relax. The volume of points they can score in such short bursts is breathtaking.”
Speights’ second-best scoring night of the season came against the team that drafted him 16th overall in 2008. He made seven of his 10 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and found time for seven rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.
Speights has torched the 76ers for a career-best 32 points, 23 and 17 the three times he faced them in Oakland since joining the Warriors at the start of the 2013-14 season.
“The ball’s just going in when we play them at home,” Speights said with a chuckle. “It could be (revenge-motivated); it could be something else. I’m just glad it’s happening.”
His season high of 25 points came March 12 against the Phoenix Suns.
Thompson, who used nine 3-pointers as the foundation for his 40-point outing against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, bombed in another seven on 14 attempts against the 76ers.
He shot 15-for-27 in all Sunday while recording his fourth 40-point game of the season and eighth of his career.
Green finished with 13 points and game highs in rebounds (11) and assists (11).
“Draymond Green has changed the power forward position being able to dribble, being able to pass, being able to shoot,” 76ers veteran backup Elton Brand said. “There are stretch forwards … Dirk Nowitzki, Rasheed Wallace, guys like that. But he’s playing (center). It’s just tough to match up.”
Stephen Curry, despite a 2-for-9 night from 3-point range, added 20 points and a team-high eight assists for the Warriors, who improved to 5-1 in home games played on Easter.
Golden State made 14 of its 33 3-point attempts (42.4 percent).
Carl Landry had 22 points and a season-best eight rebounds for the 76ers, who completed a winless four-game trip. The former Warrior hit nine of his 15 shots.
Backup Robert Covington had his third consecutive productive game since returning from a concussion, logging a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Covington also had a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) on Saturday night in Portland after returning to the lineup Wednesday at Denver with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Brand (10 points) and starting guards Ish Smith (20) and Isaiah Canaan (15) made it five 76ers in double figures.
“I do watch them on TV,” Brand said of the Warriors. “My son is a big basketball fan, and those are the highlights we watch. The way they move the ball. The way they play defense. They’re just champs. It’s always fun playing against the champs.”
Smith also had a team-high 10 assists for the 76ers, who lost despite shooting 46.7 percent from the field.
The Warriors hit 53 percent of their field-goal attempts.
NOTES: Warriors SG Klay Thompson recorded consecutive 40-point games for the first time in his career. … Warriors PG Stephen Curry had three straight 40-point games Feb. 24-27. He and Thompson are the first set of teammates to each score 40 points in back-to-back games in a season since the Denver Nuggets’ Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe in 1982-83. … Warriors backup SF Brandon Rush bruised his right kneecap in the third quarter and was unavailable to finish the game. … The Warriors rested veteran backup PG Shaun Livingston, who played a total of 48 minutes in Golden State’s previous two contests. … An MRI on 76ers PF Nerlens Noel’s right knee Saturday revealed just a bone bruise. Noel is likely to return to game action later this week. … With C Jahlil Okafor (knee), C Joel Embiid (foot), PF Richaun Holmes (Achilles) and Noel all out of action Sunday, the 76ers promoted PF Christian Wood from the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League. Wood played a scoreless five minutes against the Warriors. … Philadelphia waived SG Sonny Weems to create a roster spot for Wood.