OAKLAND -- After losing three consecutive regular season games for the first time since coach Steve Kerr arrived in 2014, the Warriors on Tuesday night have a prime opportunity to get back to their winning ways.
They’re playing at Oracle Arena, where they are a league-best 26-4, and they’re facing the downtrodden, injury-depleted Philadelphia 76ers.
The Warriors (52-14), who are tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 overall seed, have been struggling ever since Kevin Durant sustained a knee injury on Feb. 28 at Washington, losing five of seven since.
The 76ers’ record (24-42) is deceptive insofar as they are 11-24 when Joel Embiid is out of the lineup, and he is done for the rest of the season. They have lost seven of their last nine, with the only wins coming over the lowly Lakers and Knicks.
Warriors by 16.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Draymond Green vs. Dario Saric: In the absence of Embiid, the 6-foot-10 Saric has emerged as Philly’s most consistently productive player. The 22-year-old Croatian forward is waging a second-half Rookie of the Year campaign, averaging 19.4 points and 8.1 rebounds over his last 13 games. Green, who thrives on opportunities to teach lessons to talented youngsters, has been off his game lately and could use a stellar performance.
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain) is listed as out.
76ers: G Jerryd Bayless (L wrist surgery), F Robert Covington (R knee soreness), C Joel Embiid (L knee injury), F Ben Simmons (R foot fracture) and F/C Tiago Splitter (R calf strain) are listed as out.
Warriors: 5-5. 76ers: 3-7.
The Warriors have won the last seven games, including the first this season, 119-108 on Feb. 27 in Philadelphia. They haven’t lost to the Sixers at home since 2011.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE HUSTLE GAME: The Sixers may be undersized and talent-deficient, but they are well coached and they play hard. Which means they cannot be taken for granted. But if the Warriors are careful with the ball and can match Philly’s effort, they should prevail even with an ordinary shooting night.
TAKING OF GIFTS: Only the Nets commit more turnovers than the 76ers, which plays into the hands of the Warriors. They are at their best when forcing turnovers and turning them into transition offense. Expect defensive energy from the Warriors as they feed off the home crowd and try to create separation before halftime.
PLAY THE LANES: The 76ers, as demanded by coach Brett Brown, rely on constant movement. According to NBA.com, they actually lead the NBA in passes per game as well as overall miles per game (Yes, there is a stat for that). All that passing and movement provides more opportunity for steals by the Warriors, who lead the league in that category.