The 76ers play the Golden State Warriors tonight in what will be a strength on strength, weakness-on-weakness battle. The Warriors have a great offense, led by dynamic scorer Monta Ellis and sweet shooting Steph Curry. Both are battling injuries, and if they are out, the 76ers should dominate, but the Warriors offense is good nonetheless. The 76ers got into the playoffs last year on the back of their defense, and after their complete shutdown of the Suns offensively, it looks as though nothing will change this year. On the other side of the ball, the 76ers sometimes struggle offensively due to the lack of a go to scorer, and the Warriors suffer defensively, in no small part because they start two small guards.
The third part of the game, however, is what could end up being most interesting. Golden State was horrendous last year in picking up defensive rebounds, ranking 26th in the league. The 76ers didn’t fare much better offensively, ranking 20th. More importantly, however, the 76ers averaged eleven more rebounds per game than the Warriors the two times the teams met. This was staggering because, despite being ranked thirteenth in total rebounds last year, the 76ers struggled to rebound much of the season, and were only ranked as high as thirteenth because they got so many chances for defensive rebounds. That’s because they got so many stops.
This is further helped by the fact that the Sixers played at a pretty fast pace. They grabbed less than half of available rebounds, at 49.6%. Against the Warriors, the Sixers again showed much improvement, grabbing over 56% of the available rebounds. This despite the 76ers having a worse than normal defensive rating of over 109, meaning they were able to nab less defensive rebounds than normal.
With Spencer Hawes grabbing 12 rebounds per game, a giant step up from last year, the Sixers could dominate the boards against the Warriors, and possibly get the second chance points they are not accustomed to getting. Look for the Sixers to try to exploit this facet of the game tonight.