Warriors-76ers Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers are riding their worst losing streak in
three seasons.

It’s starting to look like oft-injured center Andrew Bynum won’t
be able to help them get back on track anytime soon – if ever.

The 76ers try to avoid an eighth consecutive loss on Saturday
night when the slumping Golden State Warriors look to end their
trip on a positive note.

Philadelphia (22-34) was hoping to challenge for an Atlantic
Division title and make another playoff run after acquiring Bynum
and former Warriors Jason Richardson in the same four-team
offseason deal, but Bynum hasn’t played due to knee issues and
Richardson won’t suit up again in 2012-13 after undergoing surgery
on his left knee last month.

Surgery could be the next option for Bynum, who admitted for the
first time on Friday that he might not play this season because of
swelling in his right knee. The two-time All-Star will be an
unrestricted free agent after making $16.5 million this season.

“I think being healthy is more important than everything else,”
Bynum said. “If I am healthy, I’ll get a deal. I have to be able to
play and I need to get to the point with my body where I’m able to
play, however long that takes.”

Bynum’s return appears less likely as each day passes, so all
the 76ers can do at this point is try to regroup from Thursday’s
93-82 loss at Chicago and start chipping away at the six-game lead
eighth-place Milwaukee has over them in the Eastern race.

Standing in their way on Saturday will be a Warriors team
currently sixth in the West.

“They’re one of the surprise teams this year,” 76ers coach Doug
Collins said after Friday’s practice. “(Coach) Mark Jackson has
done a nice job with them.”

Golden State (33-26), though, is winless since opening its
five-game trip on Sunday with a third consecutive victory, 100-99
over Minnesota.

“I give them credit, they defended, but we missed shots,”
Jackson after the Warriors had their second-worst shooting
performance of the season (34.0 percent) in Friday’s 94-86 loss to
Boston.

Point guard Stephen Curry missed 16 of 22 field-goal attempts,
but he hit all 10 of his free throws to finish with 25 points. Two
days earlier, Curry had career highs of 11 3-pointers and 54 points
in a 109-105 loss to New York.

Collins raved about that effort – that came as no surprise as
he’s watched his team shoot 41.4 percent and average 88.3 points
since its last win – but he’s equally concerned about keeping David
Lee and Carl Landry off the boards.

Lee, who returned from a one-game suspension on Friday and
posted his NBA-best 38th double-double with 10 points and 19
rebounds, had team highs with 25 points and 12 rebounds in a 96-89
victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 28. Landry added 15 points and 11
boards to help Golden State win the rebounding battle 52-43.

The Warriors, who open a season-high seven-game homestand on
Monday against Toronto, have lost four straight in
Philadelphia.

All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, who had 21 points and 10 assists in
the December loss in Oakland, leads the 76ers with 17.7 points and
7.1 assists per game during their slide.

Philadelphia is enduring its longest losing streak since an 0-12
stretch that ended with a 117-101 home win over Golden State on
Dec. 14, 2009.