The Sixers start the first of three straight late-night games tonight as they face the Steph Curry-less Golden State Warriors.
A matchup that was once expected to feature both Curry brothers will be forced to go on without them as they each mend their respective injuries. The Warriors currently sit at 9th in the West with a record of 22-21 on the season and have managed to keep their head above water on the season and keep their playoff hopes alive. They are coming off a loss against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, where they fell by a score of 111-103.
The Sixers look to continue to stay hot as they are 8-2 in their last 10 and have won four straight road games. During this stretch, the Sixers are averaging 119.2 points per game and shooting 50% from the field. In contrast, they have held opponents to 106.4 points per game on 46.5% shooting.
With a 30-13 record on the season and continuing to sit at first in the East, the Sixers will look to continue to keep their foot on the gas and pick up another victory in this matchup. They rank 6th in the league in points per game (115.1), 4th in rebounds per game (46.5), and 7th in opponents points per game (109.7) as proof of their success.
The Sixers will continue to be without Joel Embiid, who suffered a bone bruise and remains out. Seth Curry will also remain out due to his sprained ankle. Seth’s ankle injury was reevaluated this weekend, but he remains out for this game with the Sixers still holding out hope he can rejoin the lineup at some point on the West-coast trip.
As important as Joel Embiid is to the 76ers, Steph Curry is even more important to the Warriors. Quietly putting together an MVP campaign of his own, Steph is averaging 29 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game. Losing Curry and the 11.4 three-point attempts per game that he brings will be a struggle for the Warriors.
Curry will be missing this game due to a tailbone injury that he sustained in a matchup against the Rockets last Wednesday.
The Warriors will also continue to be without Klay Thompson (Achilles) and Marquese Chriss (leg), who remain out for the year. James Wiseman and Eric Paschall are both listed as probable after missing the previous 3 games due to health and safety protocols.
Outside of Curry, the Warriors lean on Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre, who average 17.8 and 14.9 points per game, respectively. Draymond Green has transitioned into the primary distributor in the offense and leads the team with 8.5 assists per game. The Warriors may also look to lean one Jordan Poole, who has been red hot of late. While he averages just 10.4 points per game on the season, Poole has scored 20.9 points per game over his last 7 games.
Sixers Keys to the Game
The Sixers are coming off a sloppy overtime victory against the Knicks in which their execution was simply not good enough. While they certainly caught a break with the Warriors being without Curry, they must cut down on the 20 turnovers and sloppy decision-making that occurred in the last game.
Even without Embiid, Ben Simmons is a major matchup issue for the Warriors, so look for him to lock in and attack early. Despite the slow start on the season, Simmons is now averaging 15.9 points, 8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game. The 7 turnovers he coughed up in the previous matchup were unacceptable; look for Ben to come back to form in this one with no legitimate matchup for him on the Warriors.
The Sixers must also continue to lean on the bench for production. Despite the swirling rumors, the bench has picked up production and proven to be a bright spot on the team in recent games. One of the biggest bright spots has been the resurgence of Shake Milton, who poured in 21 points against the Knicks in the last game.
The Sixers need to come out in attack mode and take care of business early as the Warriors are a team full of competitors that you do not want to let linger. The Vegas odds are set at -4 in the Sixers’ favor, and this should be a number the Sixers should look to reach without trouble if they play the way they are capable of.