After a brutal 118-96 loss to the Utah Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday night, the 76ers face the best team in the NBA in the 21-4 Golden State Warriors.
Here’s three storylines:
Older Curry close to history
10 made threes on Saturday would give Warriors star and early-season MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry 2,974 triples in his career, breaking Ray Allen’s record.
Could Curry pull it off in Philadelphia? According to the numbers, there’s no good reason he won’t. Per Basketball Reference, Curry has hit at least nine threes in a game 33 times. One of those times was when he shot 10-for-17 from beyond the arc last season in a 49-point night in Philly.
Curry played on Wednesday like someone aiming to pass Allen as soon as possible, attempting 17 threes in 33 minutes as Golden State beat the Portland Blazers.
Sixers guard and Steph’s younger brother Seth Curry could perhaps redirect some of the spotlight on Saturday with a strong game. He’s followed up an impressive postseason by averaging a career-high 16.3 points on 50.9 percent shooting from the floor, 40.8 percent from three-point range.
The 31-year-old isn’t worried about how his performances are perceived relative to his brother’s, though he must be aware the NBA world is fixated on Stephen Curry at the moment.
The Sixers aren’t the only team to suffer to the Warriors’ third-quarter run this season.
They couldn’t hold a 19-point lead last month, allowing Golden State to surge ahead in the third quarter and pull away in the fourth. Through 25 games, the Warriors have outscored the opposition by a league-leading average of 6.5 points per game in the third. The Jazz, who the Sixers lost to Thursday, are second at plus-3.1.
Turnovers and lapses in energy tend to hurt when the Warriors are the opposition.
“They a good team,” Seth Curry said. “It’s nothing we didn’t already know. They’re the best team in the league right now. They wear on you for 48 minutes; you’ve got to bring it for the entire game. Getting down a lot or being up a lot, it doesn’t mean much against them. They’re a team that comes in waves, so you can’t have a letdown for four, five minutes.”
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers joked Thursday that he nearly “went into shock” when informed before playing Utah that his team had no injuries.
Illnesses and injuries have been a constants this year for the Sixers. Rivers wasn’t technically correct that the Sixers had a full team available — Ben Simmons (personal reasons) will miss a 27th straight game and two-way player Grant Riller is sidelined with right shoulder soreness as they have been for most of the season — but it’s true that they’re finally not so undermanned.
Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid were out for the season’s first Sixers-Warriors meeting but will start on Saturday. After experiencing abdominal pain on his right side against Utah, Embiid looked like himself taking jumpers at the end of Saturday’s shootaround.
For Golden State, Klay Thompson (right Achilles tendon recovery) and James Wiseman (right knee injury recovery) remain out. Andre Iguodala (right knee soreness) is listed as questionable.
Catch the game live from the Wells Fargo Center at 8:30pm ET on ABC and listen on 97.5 the Fanatic.