The Philadelphia 76ers have a chance to complete a .500 road trip without Joel Embiid when they visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night in San Francisco.
The 76ers were without more than just their All-Star center when they limped into Sacramento and pulled out a 102-94 win on Monday night. They trotted out a starting lineup of Georges Niang, Furkan Korkmaz, Andre Drummond, Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey.
Drummond and Maxey led the way, Drummond with 23 rebounds and Maxey with 24 points.
Among the missing: Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and Danny Green.
But that was against a Kings team that was playing so poorly, they dismissed coach Luke Walton, a former Warriors assistant, one day earlier.
If they’re going to win for a third time on their six-game trip, it’s going to have to come against a relatively healthy Warriors club that has won four in a row overall and their last eight straight at home en route to the best record in the league at 15-2.
The 76ers expect Embiid back as soon as Saturday, when they open a two-game homestand against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After a positive COVID test, Embiid has missed the last eight games, during which the 76ers have gone 2-6. But he has been cleared to return to practice, and there was speculation he could join the team in San Francisco before he was ruled out Tuesday.
76ers coach Doc Rivers only had this to say: “The fact that he’s out working again is huge.”
It’s possible Harris (hip), Curry (back) and Green (hamstring) also will be held back until Saturday, but all three are listed as questionable versus the Warriors. Curry sitting out would mean missing a rare opportunity to go head-to-head with his brother, Stephen.
The older Curry was held to 12 points in Golden State’s 119-104 home win over Toronto on Sunday. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins took up the slack with 33 and 32 points, respectively.
Golden State remains without Klay Thompson (Achilles) and James Wiseman (knee), although Wiseman could return before the end of the month. Thompson returned to Warriors practice as a full participant Tuesday for the first time since June 2019.
Even without Thompson, the Warriors have featured one of the NBA’s best offenses this season, ranking in the top five in scoring, assists, field-goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage.
But where they have been surprisingly good has been on the other end of the court, where they’ve held seven of their 17 opponents so far under 100 points. They are 7-0 in those games.
Draymond Green has been the defensive leader. He gave away one of his secrets this week.
“I’ve been (awful) the last couple years, so my kids don’t really understand how good I am,” he said of his three young children. “So that is motivating for me: To play well in front of them so they have an understanding of what I do.”
The meeting will be the first of the season for the Warriors and 76ers. They have split the two-game season series each of the past three years.
–Field Level Media
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