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.