The Golden State Warriors lineup received another unhealthy dose of misfortune this weekend, as star shooting guard Monta Ellis is scheduled to miss the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday to attend his grandfather's funeral.
Depending on the status of point guard Stephen Curry, the Warriors will be depleted in the back court.
Curry is listed as day-to-day after spraining his ankle for the second time in a week in Golden State's second game of the season against the Chicago Bulls. He sat out the Warriors' last game against the New York Knicks to get some rest and rehabilitation in an effort to keep him as healthy as possible in the long-term. His status for Saturday's contest will be a game-time decision.
Unfortunately, the holes in the backcourt may be the only way to halt the Warriors' momentum early in the season. Golden State has two strong victories against projected Eastern Conference powers: the Bulls and the Knicks. But now they will get another difficult test by possibly facing the Sixers without their starting guards.
It's likely that backup point guard Ish Smith would start in Curry's stead as he did against the Knicks last Wednesday. But who would step in to fill Ellis' spot? Ellis took on the brunt of the scoring and playmaking load while Curry rested. But where will the points come if both are out of Saturday's game?
Klay Thompson would be slated to step in for Ellis, but another option would be to start Brandon Rush, who is on an early hot streak at both ends of the floor. Rush would give the Warriors' lineup a little bit more experience, as Thompson is just a rookie. Rush has provided tremendous energy off the bench for Golden State. Pushing him into the starting lineup would certainly leave the bench slightly thin.
Hopefully for the Warriors' sake, this will be but a one-game situation. Curry would no doubt like to return to the lineup on Saturday, but if he does not, Golden State will have to rely on an unproven guard duo in Smith and Rush or Thompson. This will guarantee that the frontcourt ups its performance, something that is quite
Without Curry and Ellis, look for the Warriors to struggle against the 76ers on Saturday.
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