Friday, December 28, 10:30 PM (EST) at Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
14-15 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
19-10 (2nd Pacific, 5th West)
TV: The Comcast Network Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
MATCHUP TO WATCH
F Harrison Barnes vs. F Dorell Wright
Rookie Harrison Barnes entered the 2012-13 season as Golden State's starter at the small forward position. Through the first 15 games of the season, he was keeping pace with some of the more impressive rookies in his class, averaging 10.7 points (on 47.5% shooting) and 5.0 rebounds per game. In his last 15, though, he's averaged just 6.8 points (on a paltry 33.3% shooting) and 4.2 rebounds. After scoring just eight points in three games, Barnes has gotten back on track over his last two, combining for 20 points on 44.4% shooting.
Coming off a season-high 28-point performance in Memphis, Dorell Wright will look to continue his hot play, when the Sixers take on his former team, the Golden State Warriors. Over his last five games, the 6-9 forward is averaging 17.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while converting on 48.6% of his attempts from beyond the arc. In that time, he's topped 20 points three times (28, 25, and 20) after going 17 games without scoring in double figures. With Jason Richardson day-to-day with a strained low back, Dorell Wright is expected to start his second straight game, should the veteran swingman sit Friday.
Harrison Barnes uses his great length and impressive athleticism to get to, and finish at, the rim. He attempts over half his shots (52.4%) inside the paint, but the disparity between such attempts that fall inside the restricted area and those that come from outside of it is staggering. Barnes converts on 57.6% of his shots taken under the basket, but he's made just 25.0% of his paint attempts from farther than three feet. In fact, the UNC alum has made more shots from inside the charge circle (49) than from all other locations on the floor combined (45); he's shot just 30.8% from outside of three feet this season.
Barnes, who possesses a game that is predicated more upon playing off-ball than with the ball in his hands, relies upon his teammates to find him looks around the rim – 62.0% of his shots around the basket come off of assists. Remaining active and vigilent in denying the rookie cutting lanes will help limit his ability to make a difference on the offensive end Friday.
Golden State currently boasts the fifth-best record in the Western Conference (19-10). Amazingly, they've been able to keep up this .655 winning percentage, despite playing just 12 of their 29 games so far at home. The Warriors are 11-6 on the road and 8-4 at home. Overall, they've won 12 of their last 16.
When guard Stephen Curry is on, he's really on. The 6-3 son of former star sixth man Dell Curry played just 26 games last season due to a multitude of ankle injures, but has come back with a vengeance, averaging 20.3 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in 38.0 minutes a night. He has yet to miss a game this season. Curry has been especially impressive over his last four games, averaging an incredible 25.5 points (while converting 22 of his 42 three-point attempts), 6.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Despite the Davidson alum's efforts, the Warriors are 2-2 over their last four games.
Under The Radar: David Lee
Forward David Lee is a player who perpetually flies under the radar, despite consistently putting up All-Star caliber numbers. Since joining the Warriors via a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks in the summer of 2010, Lee has averaged 18.4 points (51.1 FG%), 10.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Through 29 games this season, the 6-9 Florida alum is averaging 19.9 points (53.6 FG%), 11.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Despite these impressive stats, Lee is not among the top-15 Western Conference's All-Star vote-getters from the frontcourt position this season.