Warriors vs. 76ers Preview: Will Golden State's Offense Be Too Much?

Action Network NBA analysts Roberto Arguello breaks down Saturday's primetime clash between the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers.

Warriors vs. 76ers Odds

Warriors Odds -1.5
76ers Odds +1.5
Over/Under 214.5
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Golden State Warriors head to Philadelphia to play the first of five consecutive road games against Eastern Conference opponents, starting with the 76ers on Saturday night.

The Warriors have been nothing short of phenomenal this season as Stephen Curry has led them to an NBA-best 21-4 record. The 76ers sit at seventh in the Eastern Conference at 14-12 as they have played 10 games without their star center, Joel Embiid this season.

The Warriors beat the 76ers in their lone previous meeting, a 116-96 win in San Francisco where the Warriors fell behind by 19 points in the first half but mounted a furious second-half rally to get the win while Embiid was sidelined with COVID.

Thankfully Embiid is back healthy for the 76ers, and they will be looking to spoil Curry and the Warriors’ night with a win as short home underdogs. Curry is only 10 3-pointers away from breaking Ray Allen’s all-time record.

Can Curry handle the pressure and lead the Warriors to a win? Let’s break it down below.

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Warriors Must Deny Embiid Inside

If the Warriors win and cover as short favorites, it will be because they limit Embiid’s damage inside while their offense remains in rhythm. Andre Iguodala (knee) is questionable to play on Saturday while Klay Thompson (Achilles) and James Wiseman (knee) remain out indefinitely.

If the Warriors have a flaw right now, it’s that they don’t have the size inside to defend a dominant big inside like Embiid as their current big man rotation consists of Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Nemanja Bjelica while Wiseman remains out.

While Green is one of the best defenders in the history of the league, a handful of bigs like Embiid and Deandre Ayton are simply too big and skilled for him to hold them in check like he can do with seemingly ever other player.

The Warriors will need to play quality team defense to deny Embiid from getting the ball near the rim and force him to take as many jumpshots as possible.

Per Cleaning The Glass, the Warriors allow the fewest shots at the rim (25.6% of opponent shots), but they allow the second-most shots from the short midrange (26.3% of opponent shots), so it will be important to keep Embiid further out than most other players with his hulking size and deft touch.

If they can keep him from wrecking them inside, their offense should have the firepower to overwhelm the 76ers just like they did in the second half of their first meeting. The Warriors are a well-oiled machine as they have surrounded Curry and Green with high-IQ players who can defend, shoot and make timely cuts to maximize their stars’ skill sets.

76ers Need More Shots to Fall

If the 76ers pull the upset, they need a big night from Embiid while their shooters step up to match the Warriors’ elite shooting.

While all eyes will be on Stephen Curry as he tries to break the all-time 3-point record, Seth Curry will also play a crucial role in the 76ers’ offense. Seth Curry led the 76ers with 24 points in their previous matchup against the Warriors as he was an efficient 8-16 from the field. However, it could have been a much bigger night for him had the longball been falling as he went 0-5 from beyond the arc while the 76ers made just 8-28 (28.6%) of their 3s.

In order for Embiid to have the necessary room to operate inside without smaller Warriors defenders swarming him, 76ers shooters like Seth Curry, Georges Niang, Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz, among others, will need to be efficient from beyond the arc.

The 76ers will need to bounce back from a poor shooting night against the Jazz on Thursday where they made just 6-33 (18.2%) 3s, or else they could be blown out for the second straight game at home.

Warriors-76ers Pick

While I expect the 76ers to come out swinging, the Warriors will eventually right the ship as they are the better team on both ends of the court, and they have a considerable coaching advantage as well.

The 76ers don’t have enough dynamic playmakers around Embiid who can generate quality looks off the dribble, and the Warriors should be ready to make life tougher for Seth Curry in this matchup.

While I don’t expect Stephen Curry to make 10 3-pointers in this game, he will have another strong performance while creating advantages that he and Draymond Green can turn into quality shots for other capable scorers on the perimeter or easy looks at the bucket. Embiid will get his against them inside, but the Warriors will have too much everywhere else.

Although there will probably be better value live, there is enough of an edge here with the best team in basketball laying just one point (at BetRivers) that it’s worth a half unit on the Warriors’ spread.

Bet them down to -2 or wait to get better value live as there will be ebbs and flows in this matchup.

Pick: Warriors -1.5 (BetRivers/SugarHouse)