Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Improved Warriors present steep challenge

If the 76ers (14-15) are going to extend their winning streak to four games over the Golden State Warriors in their game tonight at Oracle Arena, they better be prepared to face a team that looks nothing like last season's version of the team (23-43).

Improved Warriors present steep challenge

Golden State Warriors´ Stephen Curry (30) stands next to head coach Mark Jackson against the New Orleans Hornets during an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) stands next to head coach Mark Jackson against the New Orleans Hornets during an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

OAKLAND -  If the 76ers (14-15) are going to extend their winning streak to four games over the Golden State Warriors in their game tonight at Oracle Arena, they better be prepared to face a team that looks nothing like last season’s version of the team (23-43).

Last season the Warriors dropped both meetings with the 76ers by 26 and 22 points. They were an awful defensive team (ranked 20th in opponent field goal) and an even worse rebounding team (ranked 28th).

But second-year coach Mark Jackson has changed all of that, and a little more than a quarter of the way through the season the former point guard is among the leading candidates for the coach of the year. 

Jackson has the Warriors defending (ranked fourth in opponent field goal percentage) and rebounding (ranked fourth) this season. With all due respect to Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro (he’s supposed to win with that type of talent), Jackson is the early leader for coach of the year.

More coverage
 
Sixers Insiders: Summer League Recap
 
VOTE: Do you think Embiid has a bright future ahead?
 
POLL: Should the 76ers play Embiid this year if cleared?
 
Grade the Sixers' draft picks
 
Latest Sixers videos
 
Forum: When will the 76ers be a contender?

For Jackson, though, the turning point in the season was a road trip earlier this month similar to the one the Sixers are on now. The Warriors traveled east and went 6-1 with wins over Detroit, Brooklyn, Washington, Charlotte, Miami and Atlanta (the lone loss was at Orlando, surprisingly). It was the first time in franchise history the team has won six games on a road trip.

“That was crucial stretch for us,” said Jackson, whose team lost at home – to Orlando – before embarking on the trip. “That built incredible confidence and it unified us even more.”

About this blog

Keith Pompey is in his first season covering the Sixers for The Inquirer after covering the Temple men’s basketball team for the past three years and Temple football the past two seasons.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Narducci also has a true passion for South Jersey scholastic sports, which he has covered for many years.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected
Topics: