Date: Monday February 27th, 2017
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Time: 4:00 pm PST (it’s early!)
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: 95.7 The Game
Blog buddy: Liberty Ballers
This will be the Warriors’ first game in a long, two week stretch that will encompass 11,000 miles of travel (requiring about 30 hours of airplane time) as they play seven of their next eight games on the road.
After the unexpectedly tight game against the lowly Nets Saturday night, Jim Barnett said “This is why I love the NBA. The lowest team can challenge the very best team on any given night.” It’s hard to find anything on paper that the Philadelphia 76ers do better than the Golden State Warriors, but that doesn’t mean this is a guaranteed win.
The dichotomy in this game is clear enough; the Warriors are already preparing for the playoffs after becoming the first team in the league to secure a playoff berth. The Sixers, for their part, are eyeing the draft yet again with many fans pulling for losses in order to land the highest pick. On top of that, the Sixers will be playing without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
In case you missed it, there was a minor Warriors roster move after Saturday’s game. The Warriors released Briante Weber (who has since been scooped up by the Charlotte Hornets).
Briante Weber will be let go by the Warriors. Steve Kerr says the team will sign another guard. Already in motion, but nothing finalized.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 26, 2017
I’ll defer the hand-wringing and analysis for now, but do want to point out that General Manager Bob Myers gave an inkling of the Warriors thought process:
“I don’t want to diminish (Weber’s) contribution and say he’s not capable,” he added. “He could help a team. But I think sometimes you go with experience when going into the playoffs.”
For now, you can read Andrew Flohr’s excellent overview here.
What to watch for
Kevin Durant was held out last game for an injury to his non-shooting hand. It’s unclear how serious the injury is, or if he will be available for this game. Given the upcoming travel schedule, and the relative strength of these two teams, you can expect Kerr to keep Durant out if there is any question at all surrounding his health. Patrick McCaw got the start last game and did well enough to expect another start if Durant is held out yet again.
Draymond Green only played 23 minutes against the Nets. Kerr said he told him that he just “didn’t have it.” Green went 1-10 on the night after an emotional outburst against the Clippers in the previous game. While we can probably survive this next game regardless, it is immensely important to get any issues sorted out quickly, as the playoffs are only 25 games away. Maybe the guy needs a day off work to get his head right? Regardless, if he plays, you can expect pundits to be watching him extra closely for any signs of ongoing tension on and off the court.
The Sixers have a new player, another athletic specimen who has struggled to make a reliably positive impact on the court, but it cost them Nerlens Noel, a guy with a much higher upside. Hop on over to Liberty Ballers to read their excellent take on the move.
Here’s the statistical comparison, for what it’s worth. In short: Warriors very good, Sixers not very good.