Warriors-Sixers: What to watch for


Warriors-Sixers: What to watch for

Programming Note: Get set for tonight's Warriors-Sixers matchup from Philly with Warriors Pregame Live at 4:30 p.m., then sit back and enjoy the game action at 5 p.m., only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

It has happened a few times earlier this season and it seemsto be happening again: Theres an air of optimism around the Warriors. Theyvewon three of their past four games, including two on the road and in their past14 games theyre a very respectable 8-6.

The Warriors are coming off a nice win over the Hawks inAtlanta on Wednesday, giving them a 1-1 start on their five-game trip.At 14-18, theyre still on the outskirts of the WesternConference playoff race -- 12th in the conference and three gamesout of the eighth and final playoff spot -- but, hey, thats probablytechnically considered hanging around.Pregame CHAT NOW with Warriors Insider Matt Steinmetz!
On Friday night the Warriors play the Sixers in Philly, andthen they finish the trip off against Toronto (11-24) and Washington (7-28), twoextremely winnable games despite being a back-to-back at the end of atrip.So, lets take a look for a few things to watch for againstPhiladelphia:Assess Philly early: The Sixers areplaying the middle game of a three-game homestand, and theyre coming off atough loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. The Bulls come to town onSunday.Now throw in there the fact that Philly has lost six of itspast seven games and probably is feeling like it needs a win. The first sixminutes should give you a snippet of where the Sixers are at.Do they play with some desperation against the Warriors,knowing they could be looking at a winless homestand and extended slump? Or arethey simply a team not clicking right now that the Warriors can take advantageof?Battle between benches: Perhaps thebrightest spot this season for the Warriors has been their bench. Among EkpeUdoh, Brandon Rush, Dominic McGuire, Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson, the teamusually has at least a couple of players to rely on off the bench.GAME LOGS: Udoh Rush McGuire Thompson Robinson
But the Sixers very well may have the bench best in the NBA.Their leading scorer, Lou Williams, comes off the bench along with ThaddeusYoung and Evan Turner. With the injury to starting center Spencer Hawes, rookieNikola Vucevic has moved into the rotation and also done a nice job.Curry vs. Holiday: Warriors point guardStephen Curry has been banged up with a strain in his right foot but he couldplay Friday. If he does, hell be matched up against another good point guard,Jrue Holiday.Holiday is not the shooter that Curry is, but Holiday ismore of a true point guard and is a better defender than Curry.If Curry plays, you would think the Warriors would have achance to win this matchup. Without Curry, its up to the rest of the Warriorsto help limit Holiday.

LeBron reacts to Kyrie Irving trade: 'What a ride...'

LeBron reacts to Kyrie Irving trade: 'What a ride...'

The dynamic duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving lasted just three seasons.

Despite making it to the NBA Finals in all three seasons, Irving wanted out of the partnership.

On Tuesday, he got his wish as the Cavs traded him to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick.

While the rumor was that Irving didn't want to play with James anymore, the four-time MVP had nothing but nice words to say about Irving on Twitter a few hours after the trade became official.

"That's the only way to be to the kid! Special talent/guy! Nothing but respect and what a ride it was our 3 years together Young Gode," James wrote in response to a short video of a fan placing a 'thank you' note on Irving's No. 2 Cavs jersey.

James and Irving won't have to wait very long to see each other again. The Cavs and Celtics face each other on Opening Night in Cleveland.

All the NBA deck chairs have been moved, but it doesn't even matter

All the NBA deck chairs have been moved, but it doesn't even matter

The Kyrie Irving-from-LeBronville Heights-to-Bahstin trade is rightly being called a blockbuster because it engenders so many concepts at once – making the second-best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference seemingly better than the first-best team with one phone call and five shifted bodies.

At least that’s how it plays outside the Bay Area, because now that the Golden State Warriors have taken ownership of the entire league, Kyrie Irving’s whereabouts don’t actually change the balance of power – because there is none.

There’s the power, and there’s the other 29 teams.

Plus, and this is a forgotten element through all the machinations of the NBA’s Meth-Bender Summer, the league is fighting over individual pieces when the Warriors are preaching the virtues of the mega-ensemble.

Irving wants to be the focus of his team, which seems to fly in the face of Boston’s ball-movement philosophy. Paul George, who complained when he didn’t take the last shot in a playoff game this April, is in Oklahoma City with the master of the me-first game, Russell Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony is still in stasis but constantly mentioned as the next Houston Rocket, joining Chris Paul and James Harden in what would seem to be the living embodiment of The Total Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts ball.

Unless, of course, all these assumptions are wrong, and all the relocated stars suddenly find the virtues the Warriors displayed in boatracing the field this year and become not only unselfish offensively but more stridently devoted to defense. All these players are bright, determined, and seemingly open to new ideas (well, maybe not Melo, but even that is open to debate), but will they choose to be?

And even more compelling, will there be the immediate payoff in doing so?

On Question A, let us be charitable and suggest that they can do that. On Question B, however, such a return seems unlikely unless the Warriors either devote themselves to the pursuit of self or fail to avoid the medical department.

There is something worrisome about the sureness with which people are conceding 2018 – can all these self-absorbed morons be right? Things can happen to great teams, even in the NBA, which is the most hierarchical of sports.

But only the Warriors can beat the Warriors, because Kyrie Irving the Celtic does not seem at first glance to be better positioned for a parade than Kyrie Irving the Cavalier.

And that’s true of every roster move this summer. Deck chairs were moved for a better view, but the bridge is manned by the same captain, at least for the time being.