After yet another disappointing defeat to the Phoenix Suns, the Golden State Warriors will return home to host one of the worst teams in the league in Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. With Andrew Bogut and David Lee out, Stephen Curry has been forced to carry an exceptional load offensively, and the team’s defense has been shaky without Bogut protecting the rim.
If such a thing as a perfect game to bounce back exists, this would be it for the Warriors. The Sixers are 3-16 in their last 19 games and will be on a back-to-back game, coming right off one of the worst beatdowns by any team this season, losing to the Los Angeles Clippers by 45 points.
Frontcourt: The 76ers’ starting frontcourt is the strongest part of this team. Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes have all played well this year, and are all on the trade market as a result. Turner has taken on a bigger scoring load this season, and has been shooting more than he ever has in his career. Young is in the same boat as Turner, although his efficiency has gone down with more touches offensively. Hawes has probably been the most impressive of the three, putting up career-high numbers in points and rebounds per game. He has also shown very consistent 3-point range, taking 3.9 threes per game and connecting on over 40% of his long-range attempts. For a 7-foot center, that kind of a shooting touch is very rare.
Backcourt: As the tanking Sixers cleaned house, James Anderson has ended up as the starting shooting guard for this team, averaging almost three times more minutes than he ever has in his career. He picks his spots very well, and the Sixers sometimes go to him offensively when he is feeling it. However, when his shot isn’t falling from the get-go, he doesn’t get nearly as many touches, and so it’s hard to predict whether Anderson will give you two or 20 points on a given night. Most are probably familiar with the versatile Michael Carter-Williams, who essentially locked up the Rookie of the Year award one month into the season.
Keys to Warriors Victory:
Mix it up offensively
Against the Suns, Lee’s absence was painfully obvious. For most of the night, the team relied on Curry or Klay Thompson to make something happen off the dribble. When Lee is out, neither of the two starting guards can take possessions off by simply throwing the ball to their power forward and let him get you 20 points in the post. The additional pressure takes a toll throughout the course of the game.
Harrison Barnes did step up big time against Phoenix, and other than a couple of ill-advised isolation jumpers, his points came in rhythm of the offense. The Sixers are 28th in the league in defensive efficiency, so other players should not have any trouble stepping up if Bogut and Lee end up missing another game.
With the two big men out, the Warriors lost the rebounding battle against the Suns by a pretty big margin. This puts pressure on the guards to crash the defensive glass more than they usually would. When the 76ers have less rebounds than their opponents, they are 5-24 this season.
Philadelphia 76ers (15-37) vs. Golden State Warriors (30-21)
7:30 PM PST, February 10, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNBR 680 AM
76ers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Michael Carter-Williams
SG: James Anderson
SF: Evan Turner
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Spencer Hawes
Key Reserves: G Tony Wroten, F Lavoy Allen