The battered and bruised Philadelphia 76ers (29-17) played the Golden State Warriors (20-24) in the second night of a road back-to-back. Joel Embiid returned and looked nothing like himself as the Sixers lost 119-107 for their fourth consecutive defeat, the longest skid of the season.

Let’s break down the 76ers' first matchup of the season with the Nuggets.

76ers player notes:

Joel Embiid: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5-18 FG shooting

Embiid returned after missing the last two games but looked as though he should have waited. It didn’t look like he had the springiness to get into his middie jumpers. He hobbled and limped at numerous points in the game. While his defense in the paint and his playmaking made a real difference, he was a galaxy away from his best form. There’s a very good chance that he goes back to being sidelined after playing through his injury and possibly hyperextending his knee on a play late in the game.

Furkan Korkmaz: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 6-8 FG shooting

No. 30 bombed away from deep time after time and drained shot after shot. The way he got the Sixers' offense looking somewhat competent was monumental with all the injuries working against Philly. It was a tough night to have his best game of the season, as his efforts were overshadowed by Embiid's return and the fallout from it.

Jaden Springer: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals 4-7 FG shooting

Springer's defense and hustle were game-changing for the Sixers tonight. He shot the ball very well, showing competency off the bounce and taking the threes that came to him. Especially for his efforts against the Warriors' superstar, he proved to the coaching staff that his defense should earn him semi-regular minutes.

Warriors player notes:

Stephen Curry: 37 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 12-17 FG shooting

Curry razzle-dazzled his way to a stellar scoring output. He hit crazy shots like they were nothing and scrambled the 76ers' defense by being used as a screener, forcing difficult decisions when it came to switching. Those threes only he can shoot just kept going in.

Game recap:

1st half

Some road trip this has been, huh? The 76ers have lost three games, most recently in a total collapse against the Portland Trail Blazers, and gained nothing more than more injuries. The New York Knicks even usurped them for the third seed in an earlier win. Now Nico Batum is dealing with a hamstring issue that has ruled him out in addition to Tyrese Maxey, Marcus Morris Sr., De'Anthony Melton and Robert Covington. Fortunately, the big man returned after missing the previous two games.

The game got off to a riveting start when Draymond Green fouled Embiid on the jump ball. Nick Nurse had Danuel House Jr. start AND guard Curry. Green picked up a second foul early in the game as Curry got to work, dicing through the defense and splashing jumpers to give the Dubs an early lead. Jonathan Kuminga pitched in with some impressive, grown-man drives.

Embiid got off to a slow start, missing his first five shots. He walked into a triple to finally get a field goal to go. The 76ers brought a much better effort to start this game, crashing the glass hard on offense. By the time, they took 20 shots, the Warriors took 10. But they made just five of those 20 shots.

Jaden Springer got off to a nice start, scoring on two drives to the hoop with poise, generating a steal and making a strong cut across the paint that opened up a triple in the opposite corner for House. Embiid was eased into his return by being subbed out with a few minutes to go in the opening quarter as opposed to playing the whole thing like usual.

Embiid, in his first offensive possession of his second stint that began with seven minutes left in the half, sized up Trayce Jackson-Davis right at the nail and drained a jumper. It was the first time he truly looked like himself all night. In the time he missed, Tobias Harris supplied the scoring and the hectic nature of the game didn’t allow Golden State to seize the lead.

The 76ers shot poorly from three but benefitted immensely by simply having Embiid open up those looks. But his mobility was clearly zapped due to his knee troubles, which were exacerbated by a fall and knee bump with Brandin Podziemski. It showed heavily on defense, where the Warriors were able to find open perimeter looks in part because Embiid wasn’t able to hold up as well on the perimeter. He did, however, slide his feet pretty well in a sequence where Curry had him on an island. Other than that, he was very far from his typical form.

The Sixers trailed 52-50 at the break.

2nd half

Embiid was out there to start the half and made an impact right away, preventing a layup and hitting another three. The Warriors' veteran and rookie guards took the lead back before Curry performed the most obvious offensive push-off since Michael Jordan in 1998. Nurse challenged but it was unsuccessful.

The Dubs started to get rolling with a 14-4 run midway through the third quarter. Ball-stopping sequences from Harris — who opted to dribble in place against a smaller defender and chew up shot-clock time rather than shooting a catch-and-shoot triple — stuck out like sore thumbs as Embiid failed to get into his spots and the 76ers' defense got blitzed into the ground.

Springer got a chance to guard Curry and did an admirable job. He stuck right on him and prevented him from getting looks from three. Away from the play, he continued to show hustle. But on the other end, the 76ers continued to stumble. With Embiid unable to really bang in the post, Philly had nothing to go to. He again was subbed out before the third quarter ended after notching his fourth foul.

The Philly defense started to come alive amid some rapid ball movement from Golden State, forcing a few shot-clock violations. A Furkan Korkmaz triple made it a nine-point game. Harris scored on a layup and free throws to make another dent in the deficit, then assisted K.J. Martin on a sprint to the rack that resulted in an and-one. But a lot of that progress was wasted as the Warriors scored in transition and made it a nine-point game at the end of the third quarter.

The 76ers went to a small-ball lineup with Martin and Harris as the bigs, trying to claw back into single-possession range on the scoreboard. Korkmaz and Springer made some key plays, including assists to each other for three. A turnaround jumper from Harris made it a three-point game. Golden State added another two points before Embiid came back in.

With Embiid back in, the 76ers offense stalled and the big man picked up his fifth foul. Harris closed the game out but Springer and Korkmaz did not get those chances. They deserved the chance to be subbed out for a breather and then brought back in. But there was a much more critical development yet to come — one that cemented this game as a gigantic downer for the Sixers.

Things took a turn for the absolute worst when Kuminga accidentally landed on Embiid's knee in the scramble for a loose ball. He was brought right back to the locker room as Korkmaz, Springer and Martin came back in. Korkmaz hit a pair of triples, bringing him up to five on the night, as Philly made one last push. It failed — and now there are a whole lot more injury woes surrounding Embiid.

Random tidbits:

  • The highlight of Stan Van Gundy's night, to me, was when he aired out his daughters for not being good at math when discussing the remaining amount of games Embiid can miss and retain award eligibility (five).

A Thursday matchup with the Utah Jazz is the last stop on the 76ers' road trip.