Let’s see, the Sixers are losers of 12 straight. And the Warriors have beaten them straight up 6 out of the last 7 times they’ve played, including twice in Philly. But the oddsmakers have made the Warriors +5 road dogs in this game. What’s up with that?
To me it means a couple of things. First of all, the Sixers are a desperate team, a team that will clearly take aim at the under-manned Warriors as a likely way to break their losing streak. The Sixers are going to come with everything they have in this game. Secondly, they are a team that is playing better, and with more pride, since the Allen Iverson farewell tour joined them. Their previous two games have gone right down to the wire. In their last game, they played the Houston Rockets close, outrebounding them by 12, before losing in the final seconds. This will be a very tough game for the Warriors.
The Sixers present a couple of problems for the Warriors. The biggest, in the old days, would of course have been Allen Iverson. He will still be a focal point of their offense when he’s on the floor, but he’s not the same devastating force he used to be. I would be surprised if the Warriors even guarded him with Monta Ellis. Monta will be needed on Andre Iguodala. Which means Curry will draw Iverson. Can the rookie contain him, and force him into a poor shooting night? In the past, no way. In this game, it’s anybody’s guess.
The biggest problem for the Warriors will be coping with the size and rebounding edge of the Sixers. The Sixers are huge, starting with their front line of Dalembert and Brand. The 6-8″ Thaddeus Young pulled down 11 rebounds against the Rockets at small forward. And Andre Iguodala is a classic big guard at 6-6″.
The enigmatic Anthony Randolph will be much needed in this game. His ability to draw a big man away from the basket, and his speed on the fast break, are the best antidote to the Sixers’ size advantage. Unfortunately, he’s been in a bit of a funk in the last two games. Or has it been Keith Smart that’s in a funk? Randolph needs to play great, and keep himself on the floor for 30 minutes for the Warriors to have a chance in this game.
And the Warriors are going to have to hit an outside shot. The Warriors would have beaten the Bulls and had a chance against the Pistons if either Vlad Rad or Anthony Morrow had not been so ice cold. At least one of those guys must get it going every night for the Warriors to be a complete team. Can they do it tonight, on the fifth game of an Eastern Conference road trip?
The bookmakers say no.