But it won’t be easy.
The Golden State Warriors winning streak came to a halt against the Boston Celtics, but they looked like a quality team in defeat. Things don’t get easier as they head south to take on the Philadelphia 76ers, who sport the best record in the Eastern Conference.
It should be a fun game, but it certainly won’t be an easy one.
Who: Golden State Warriors (28-29) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (39-17)
When: 4:30 p.m. PT
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: ESPN (available on fuboTV)
Projected starting lineups:
With so many players on the injury list for both players, I’m just going to do the shrug emoji here.
Warriors: Lost to the Celtics 119-114 — 4-1 in their last 5 games
Sixers: Beat the Clippers 106-103 — 4-1 in their last 5 games
Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted per Cleaning The Glass):
Warriors: 110.2 offense (21st), 111.6 defense (10th), -1.4 net (19th)
Sixers: 113.0 offense (14th), 107.9 defense (2nd), +5.1 net (7th)
The Sixers are good. Really good. And even if their long list of questionable players (which includes Ben Simmons) is out, they’re a very difficult team to beat.
The Warriors need to bring the best version of themselves, and that includes Steph Curry being healthy. We’ll see if he’s able to play.
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Jordan Poole.
The Warriors can beat bad teams just on the strength of a dominant Steph Curry and some quality play from the starters. But they can’t beat good teams without a thorough effort up and down the roster. We’ve seen Poole be a difference maker on a handful of occasions this year, and against a high quality Philly squad, that version of Poole is needed.
Sixer to watch: Joel Embiid.
Embiid was out when these two teams player earlier in the season, so the Warriors haven’t seen him since he turned into a bonafide MVP-caliber center. The 7-footer is averaging 30.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game, while also shooting 37.9% from the three-point line and playing some of the best defense in the league.
Matchup to watch: Andrew Wiggins vs. Danny Green.
Green is an awesome role player, and there’s a reason his name was linked to the Warriors at the trade deadline. Wiggins is capable of being much better than Green on any given night, but also capable of being much worse. He needs to win this matchup with solid and smart play.
Keys to victory
- Don’t get stagnant or isolation heavy against Philly’s elite defense
- Take a lot of threes — starters and bench players
- Survive on the glass
This would be a great win, Dubs.