Warriors carry three-game skid into game against 76ers
OAKLAND, Calif. — Having staggered through their toughest stretch of games on the schedule, the Golden State Warriors begin a favorable finish to the regular season when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.
The Warriors will take a three-game losing streak into the matchup with a 76ers team that snapped a four-game skid with a 118-116 road win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
Golden State recorded a 3-5 record in eight different cities in a sequence that began with a 119-108 win at Philadelphia on Feb. 27.
That win was the Warriors’ 50th of the season, and seemed to have them comfortably ahead of the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the best record in the Western Conference and top seeding in the Western playoffs.
But five losses in the next seven games, including one at home against Boston and the last at San Antonio on Saturday night, allowed the Spurs to tie the Warriors with a win over Atlanta on Monday.
The teams meet one more time — March 29 in San Antonio — with the Spurs having already clinched the regular-season series.
The game at San Antonio is one of just five remaining road outings for the Warriors, who will take the court Tuesday having played the fewest home games in the league (30). Eleven of their final 16 will be at home, including three this week against Philadelphia, Orlando and Milwaukee.
The Warriors had been 10-0 at home against Eastern teams before losing 99-86 to the Celtics last Wednesday.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr chose to rest four key players — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala — against San Antonio at the end of the eight-game stretch, hoping to have a fresh core for the stretch run.
“I genuinely feel bad for the fans who bought tickets and came to see Steph or Klay or Draymond,” Kerr told reporters after the game. “But I have to do what I have to do. Our team has been through the ringer the last couple weeks.”
The Warriors will continue to play without Kevin Durant, who hopes to fully recover from a knee injury in time for the playoffs.
The 76ers looked like a playoff team when they won four of five sandwiching the All-Star break last month, but like the Warriors, they’ve since lost a key player and a majority of their games.
They have lost seven of nine since a win over Washington on Feb. 24, with standout rookie Joel Embiid having been ruled out for the season on March 1 as a precautionary measure as he continues to rehab a surgically repaired left knee.
Embiid remains a leading candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year honors, even if he threw his hat in a different ring following Sunday’s win in Los Angeles that featured a season-best, 29-point outing by Dario Saric.
“He’s the Rookie of the Year,” Embiid shouted while Saric was doing a television interview after the win. “That’s the guy.”
Saric has scored 20 or more points in eight of his last 15 game, including a 21-point effort to complement seven rebounds and seven assists against the Warriors last month.