The Philadelphia 76ers’ latest win, a 101-100 overtime victory against the New York Knicks on Sunday, was an ugly one. Ben Simmons struggled offensively, the Sixers had 19 turnovers (including 7 from Simmons), and Tobias Harris only shot 5-of-18 from the floor and struggled with double teams (the paint was often clogged around him next to Simmons and non-shooting centers). Several vital plays with some wild buckets from Danny Green down the stretch were just enough for the Sixers to hang on.
“Danny was the only one in the huddle saying, ‘We’re gonna win this game, guys,’” head coach Doc Rivers explained after the game.
The Sixers have played a ton of games recently and their schedule is only getting tougher moving forward. They have five more road games before returning to Wells Fargo Center on April 3 and face a host of challenging opponents over the next few weeks, but things should be easier for them in Tuesday’s matchup against the 22-21 Golden State Warriors.
Joel Embiid is still out with a bone bruise, and Seth Curry also remains out with a left ankle sprain. For the Warriors, besides Klay Thompson continuing his rehab from a right achilles tear, Marquese Chriss (right ankle fracture) and Stephen Curry (tailbone contusion) are both listed as out. Eric Paschall and James Wiseman are probable due to health and safety protocols.
During Curry’s absence over the last two games, Jordan Poole has elevated his scoring load, putting up at least 25 points in each contest during the Warriors’ mini series against Memphis. Poole has had a nice run overall recently, attacking more off the dribble and averaging 20.9 points (with 54.5/44.2/88.2 shooting splits) over the last seven games since coming back into the Warriors’ rotation. You can expect Poole and Andrew Wiggins (who scored 40 points on March 19 without Curry) to carry a heavy load on Tuesday.
Curry’s stellar performance has carried the Warriors’ offense this season, though. Even with a weaker supporting cast, he’s calmly averaged 29 points and 6.2 assists per game with a 64 true shooting percentage (the 4th-best mark of his career). Outside of Curry, the Warriors simply don’t have enough quality shooters, creation, or playmaking (except for Draymond Green), and the team ranks just 22nd in offensive rating as a result. Andrew Wiggins has been pretty solid for the Warriors. He’s averaging 17.8 points on a career-high 56.4 true shooting percentage (while also shooting a career-best 37.9 percent from three), and he’s improved defensively. But the offense plummets whenever Curry is off the floor, falling from 113.4 points per 100 possessions with him to just 102.5 without him.
It’s defense where the Warriors have succeeded, with Draymond Green as their quarterback. Even though Green isn’t in his athletic prime anymore, he’s still an excellent defender. With his versatility and IQ as one of the smartest players in the NBA, he’s still calling out plays for the Warriors’ 6th-ranked defense and helping sharpen their rotations.
Except for the Sixers’ latest showing against the Knicks, they’ve been in rather impressive form recently. They’ve won 12 of their last 15 games, including four of five games without Embiid. The bench’s play has improved and the Sixers’ defense (which ranks 1st over the last 15 games, a full 3.5 points per 100 possessions ahead of 2nd place Miami) has continued to step up.
With Steph Curry sidelined, the Sixers should have enough to pick up another win before their schedule ramps up.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors
When: 10:00 pm ET, Tuesday, March 23
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, TNT
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic