The Philadelphia 76ers seem to be getting better with each game and just finished up a west coast trip strong with a pair of wins in Los Angeles. The 76ers went 3-2 on that trip, with one of the losses coming at Golden State, and they will try to avenge that setback when they host the Warriors on Saturday.
Just over a month into the regular season and it’s clear that Philadelphia has two of the best building blocks in the NBA in center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons, and the former is coming off a career-high 46-point effort in a 115-109 win over the Lakers on Wednesday. “I think he’s just playing more confidently,” 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters of Embiid. “I think he’s getting his fitness base slowly underneath him, and I feel like it’s just progressively playing with teammates, and being with us more. His growth path and comfort level, we felt that it was going to come after Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving happened just a little bit quicker.” Embiid and Philadelphia will be taking on a Warriors squad that had a seven-game winning streak snapped and scored a season low in a 92-88 loss at Boston on Thursday. “It was a defensive battle both ways,” Golden State point guard Stephen Curry told reporters. “They played great defense, we played great defense.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (11-4): Golden State is trying to repeat as NBA champions and was averaging 119.6 points before Thursday’s loss. “I think it was a great game for us though, to understand it’s not always going to be 2017 NBA out there,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “You’re going to run into teams like this, who are really physical and tough, so that’s why we harp on every box out, every foul.” Golden State had less trouble offensively last Saturday at home against Philadelphia, when it shot 58.5 percent from the floor and breezed to a 135-114 victory.
ABOUT THE 76ERS (8-6): Simmons nearly pulled off his third triple-double with 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds to go with five steals on Wednesday, but Embiid was the star of the L.A. stage. The 23-year-old center went 14-of-20 from the floor and added 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocked shots, becoming the first player to reach those totals in the same game since blocks began being kept as a statistic in 1973. “I heard it has never been done in the league ever before,” Embiid told reporters. “I wish I could have had a quadruple-double, with blocks, but, like I said, I just went out there and played basketball, and played the right way.”
1. The 76ers and SF Robert Covington are reportedly finalizing a four-year contract extension.
2. Curry sat out a win on Monday over Orlando with a thigh bruise and was just 3-of-14 from the floor in his first game back.
3. Golden State took the last nine in the series, including four straight in Philadelphia.
PREDICTION: Warriors 125, 76ers 113