Late night, west coast, Friday night, game thread. Can't think of a better way to start the weekend than Sixers at Warriors.
The Warriors are getting deadly-efficient scorer from two point guards and two power forwards. Steph Curry and David Lee headline the starters, while Jarret Jack and Carl Landry are carrying the second unit. On the periphery, Klay Thompson is heaving better than 7 threes a game at a rate approaching 38%.
The Warriors push the pace and lean on those five players to carry the scoring load. On the defensive end, they're pretty much average (which is a tremendous improvement in Oakland). Here's the thing about the Warriors, though. Curry, Lee and Landry are all tremendous defensive liabilities, and they really don't have a legit paint-protector on their roster with Andrew Bogut occupying his usual spot on the end of the bench in a bad suit.
Here's the formula for beating the Warriors on the offensive end. Attack their shaky perimeter defenders, get into the lane and finish with little-to-no resistance from David Lee and Landry. Here's a formula for how to lose this game. Let David Lee and Landry continue to dominate the offensive glass.
Curry, Thompson and Jack are all very good three-point shooters. Two types of threes seem to hurt more than any other: open threes in transition and threes off offensive boards. The Sixers perimeter guys need to do a good job of not only getting back on defense, but not getting sucked into the lane. They need to stay with their men out past the three-point line and trust the bigs will hustle back to close off the paint. They also need to make sure they don't get caught leaking out on the defensive end until the defensive board is secured. Lee and Landry will work the offensive glass mercilessly, and their guards will be lurking, looking for the kickout to turn a zero-point possession into three.
The Sixers have done a decent job keeping Steph Curry under wraps in his five career games against them, Jrue has had a ton of success, shooting 52% from the floor and 45% from three against Golden State. This is a matchup I always look forward to, and it's one the Sixers need to win. If Jrue can take his matchup and Thad can take as much as much from Lee as he gives, they have a decent shot. I'm afraid this is going to be another tough matchup for Turner. Harrison Barnes hasn't done anything on the offensive end, but he's athletic with really good size. Thompson isn't a great defender, but he's not small either. There won't be a ton of opportunities for Turner to back anyone down near the hoop. I'd like to see him moving off the ball, getting open for corner threes or maybe getting a couple easy hoops cutting to the basket from the weak side. This front court also presents a solid opportunity for Hawes to build on his success from the other night in Memphis.
Oakland used to be an easy stop on a left coast trip, that doesn't appear to be the case this year, but this is a winnable game. It's a big, big game for the Sixers. They need to scratch out every win they can on this trip and picking one up tonight would bring them back to .500 with an outside shot at getting back to Philly still treading water. That's the goal.
The tip is at 10:30pm. This is your game thread. I'll be here throughout, reliving the glory days when I could actually stay up past midnight. Join me for some late night fun.