Warriors' Cousins to make home debut vs. Embiid, 76ers
Joel Embiid and DeMarcus Cousins are scheduled to go head-to-head for just the second time in their careers Thursday night when the Philadelphia 76ers look to end the Golden State Warriors' 11-game winning streak in a game in Oakland, Calif.
Both teams enter their first meeting of the 2019 season riding the momentum of lopsided wins.
The 76ers (33-18) celebrated the return of Jimmy Butler from a three-game absence with a 39-point first quarter that led to a 121-105 romp at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
One night earlier, the Warriors (36-14) capped a 5-0 trip with a 132-100 shellacking of the Indiana Pacers in a game that kept them undefeated since Cousins made his season debut on Jan. 18.
The Warriors have won 10 straight against the 76ers, including the last six times Philadelphia visited Oakland. Embiid has been on the court for just one of those six road losses, that coming when he was harassed into seven turnovers and totaled only 12 points in a 135-114 blowout last season.
Cousins will be making his Warriors home debut after averaging 15.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 21.8 minutes on the club's five-game trip.
"I'm super-hyped," Cousins told reporters this week of his pending introduction to his new fans. "I've seen it from the sidelines on how crazy they get into it."
Cousins thrilled his former fans in Sacramento in his only previous meeting with Embiid. That occurred in a 102-100 home win for the Kings on Dec. 26, 2016. Cousins capped a 30-point, seven-rebound night with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 20.9 seconds left, before blocking a potential game-winning 3-pointer by Embiid.
A rookie at the time, Embiid countered Cousins with 25 points and eight rebounds, but he also committed eight turnovers.
Afterward, they turned into respectful rivals.
"I thought I did a pretty good job on (Cousins)," Embiid told reporters, "but he scored when it mattered."
Added Cousins in the home locker room: "That kid is special, man. All jokes aside, I really think he's a good player. This is my first time ever interacting with Embiid and also feeling how physical he is as well. His talent is through the roof. Once he gets a better understanding of the game, it's going to be scary."
After taking off the 76ers' trip-opener Saturday in Denver for rest, Embiid contributed 28 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to the win over the Lakers.
Butler added 20 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals, joining the 76ers' preferred starting lineup with Embiid, Wilson Chandler, JJ Redick and Ben Simmons for just the 21st time this season.
The 76ers are 15-6 in those games.
The Warriors likewise are expected to be at full strength for the matchup of two of the NBA's top teams, with Draymond Green slated to return after being a healthy scratch at Indiana.
Kevin Durant will be seeking a 15th consecutive win over the 76ers, with the first 11 having come while a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 31, 2019