Defense has been key to Warriors’ success

AP File PhotoWarriors forward David Lee

The Warriors have earned themselves a place among the Western Conference elite based on their offense, particularly David Lee and Stephen Curry. Improving their defense could determine how far they go this spring.

The Warriors will be looking to hold their second straight opponent under 90 points when they host the Philadelphia 76ers today. The 76ers snapped a six-game road losing streak at Memphis on Wednesday.

Golden State had allowed at least 100 points in three straight games and was coming off a 118-115 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers — during which it squandered a 14-point fourth-quarter lead — when it went into Utah on Wednesday and looked like a different team in a 94-83 triumph.

Curry and Lee again handled the bulk of the scoring in the win at Utah, but seldom-used center Andris Biedrins came off the bench to haul in 12 rebounds in 19 minutes and provided some toughness down low.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson has been trying to get his team to play tight defense all season and has been successful in stretches, including an eight-game span earlier this month in which the Warriors held seven of eight opponents under 100 points.

Golden State had three full days off to fix what went wrong in that loss to the Lakers on Saturday and ended up yielding just 37 points in the first half and jumping out to a big lead at Utah.

Guard Dorell Wright’s departure from Golden State in the offseason left the Warriors without some scoring punch, but has opened up more opportunities for wing players like Klay Thompson and rookie Harrison Barnes, who have more than made up for Wright’s absence.

Philadelphia is two games through an eight-game road trip and is coming off an impressive performance against the Grizzlies. Wright jumped into the starting lineup in place of another former Golden State guard, Jason Richardson, and scored a season-high 28 points.

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