76ers-Warriors Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 27, 2012
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Dorell Wright enjoyed the two best seasons of his career with the Golden State Warriors before being shipped to the Philadelphia 76ers in a cost-cutting move during the offseason. With Jason Richardson ailing, he may get another start to show his former team what it's missing. Philadelphia seeks a fourth straight victory over Golden State on Friday night as it continues a stretch of eight consecutive road games. Wright started all 143 games he played for the Warriors over the last two seasons and averaged 13.8 points, including a career-best 16.4 in 2010-11. In order to cut salary, though, Golden State dealt Wright, making more than $4 million this season, for the rights to little-known Bosnian big man Edin Bavcic in July. He's averaging 8.7 points while mainly coming off the bench for Philadelphia, but Richardson's lower back strain opened the door for Wright on Wednesday. The nine-year veteran came through with a season-high 28 points in a 99-89 win over Memphis. "It's a lot different," Wright said after making his first start since Nov. 10. "That's what I did the last two years (in Golden State). Coming here, that was one of the things I had to sacrifice, coming off the bench. I've been happy with my role. "Being able to step up in front for (Richardson) was great. I had the opportunity to make some shots and help the team win. It's always cool whatever job coach (Doug Collins) wants me to do." Wright is averaging 17.6 points and hitting 48.6 percent of his 3-pointers over his last five games for the 76ers (14-15), who ended a six-game road losing streak. They will play three sets of games on back-to-back nights to end this trip. Wright may be remain in a starting role Friday if Richardson, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Warriors (19-10), is unable to go. Philadelphia is 4-1 with Wright in the starting lineup, with each victory coming on the road. "Dorell was tremendous," Collins said Wednesday. "We really have made a conscience effort of looking for him in transition." Wright wasn't much of a factor as Golden State lost both meetings last season by a combined 50 points. Stephen Curry was injured for the final one March 2, though, as the Warriors fell 105-83 despite 24 points and 15 rebounds from David Lee. Curry has been on a tear, averaging 25.5 points and hitting 22 of 42 from 3-point range over his last four games. He had a game-high 23 points in Wednesday's 94-83 win over Utah, also contributing eight rebounds and seven assists for a second straight game. "The guy is an All-Star," coach Mark Jackson said. "There's no question about it. Playing at an elite level. Defending. Being a maestro for us on the offensive end. Attacking. It's great to see him healthy and being a catalyst for this basketball team in all the success we've had." Lee also has been playing well as Wednesday's 19-point performance ended his streak of 12 straight games scoring at least 20. He's averaging 23.3 points and 11.6 rebounds over his last 13, and his 18 double-doubles rank behind only the 21 of Memphis' Zach Randolph. Golden State, which has won seven of nine at home, allowed its lowest point total of the season Wednesday after surrendering an average of 116.3 over the previous three games.
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