Coming off a two-game losing streak, the (43-19) Golden State Warriors head to the Wells Fargo Center looking to get back on the right track against the (40-22) Philadelphia 76ers today (8:30 PM ET Saturday).
6-4 in their last 10, the Sixers are looking to continue their home court success as they take on a huge challenge in the Warriors, doing so without the presence of top scorer Joel Embiid. Both teams are currently in playoff positioning but at fourth, the Sixers will no doubt look to move up the list. A win against last year’s defending champions will do just that.
Despite Embiid sitting out since the All Star Game on February 17th, the Sixers have played well, winning three of the last four without their premier player. The Sixers have picked up victories over the Miami Heat and most recently the Oklahoma City Thunder in the last game the team played. In fact, Philadelphia enters this marquee matchup with the Warriors riding a two-game winning streak whereas the Warriors have actually lost their last two.
Surprising losses against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic have dampened the Warriors’ recent road trip as they have lost two of three games away from California. 20-11 away from home, the Warriors are still one of the NBA’s best teams in that category but recently they have struggled to close things out against teams they very well should have. They will be looking to rebound and keep their first place standing over the Denver Nuggets, which have moved just 0.5 games back in the standings for the top team in the Western Conference.
While the absence of Embiid does dampen the spirit of the game a bit, this is still going to be a top level matchup and the NBA schedulers agree, having given this billing as one of ABC’s top Saturday games this week. Both teams have the playoffs in mind and if things go their way, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see the two meeting up in the NBA finals this summer.
When The Teams Last Clashed
Closing out the month of January, the Sixers traveled to Oracle Arena to take on the Warriors for the first of just two games this season. Demarcus Cousins was making his home debut with his new team, freshly returning from an Achilles injury suffered during last season. Perhaps hampered by that very injury, Cousins played well but couldn’t quite make up for the production of Philadelphia’s wonder twins, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid recorded 26 points and 20 rebounds and Simmons added 26 points of his own. Together, the two led Philadelphia to a 113-104 victory over the defending champions, doing so in a game where Stephen Curry scored 41 points and Kevin Durant added 25 for the hometown team. The Philadelphia victory snapped an 11-game winning streak by the Warriors.
The Warriors were not understaffed or at their full roster capability by any means. They were simply just defeated by a Philadelphia team that seemed to want it more. But coming into this matchup, the face of The Process and the Sixers’ biggest asset, Embiid will simply be there to cheer the team on from the bench. The team’s star player has been hampered with an Achilles injury ever since the All Star Game and hasn’t played. As mentioned, his absence hasn’t hurt the Sixers due to others stepping up in a big way, but against the Warriors, no Embiid could make all the difference.
Tale of the Tape
When it comes to offensive prowess, no one tops the Warriors in what they do best and that is score and score some more on top of that. Golden State leads the NBA in scoring, averaging 118.6 points per game, over one point more than the second place Milwaukee Bucks. The 76ers are no slouch in that category as well, but their average of 115.5 is over three points less than the Warriors. It may not sound like a lot but in a game where just one point makes the difference, that slight edge goes to the Warriors. Golden State also has the edge in opponents’ points per game but just by one tenth of a point behind the Sixers.
The Warriors also hold a lead in field goal percentage, where they lead the league, three-point percentage where they are second in the league and free throw percentage where they are fourth in the league. All of those numbers best the Sixers, who are still among the best in the NBA, but not quite as good as the Warriors have been.
Defensively, especially with Embiid out of the lineup, the Warriors hold the edge. Golden State is holding opponents to a 45 percent field goal percentage, 35 percent three-point percentage and 77 percent free throw percentage. Philadelphia holds an edge in rebounding overall, but that is a number that is somewhat discounted here as Embiid is a huge contributor as to why the 76ers hold the slightest of edges in this category.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers Picks & Predictions Verdict
It’s going to be a competitive contest between two of the league’s top teams and two who are expected to go far once the playoffs begin this spring. Both the Sixers and Warriors have a solid case as to why they could advance to the NBA Finals, especially with the Eastern Conference opening up due to Lebron James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. Philadelphia has defended their home court admirably, but this is no doubt going to be one of the team’s toughest tests especially because they will have to face it without one of their top stars. If you want to make a wager on this game with one of the top sports betting sites for the USA, then these are our Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia predictions:
- The sportsbooks make the Warriors favorite by 5 or 5.5 points. At that spread the first of our picks would be to bet on the Sixers +5.5pts @ -110 with either Bovada or BetOnline.
- The total points is set at 238pts. Look for these two team to top that margin in what should be a solid contest of two of the NBA’s top offenses. Go over 238pts @ -110 with Bovada, BetOnline, Intertops or Bookmaker.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.