The original theme of this Sixers-Hawks preview was slated to be the return of Tony Wroten, but his questionable status on Monday morphed into doubtful on Tuesday, and the third-year guard probably won't suit up until Friday at the earliest.
(I'm not a member of #TeamWroten, nor do I celebrate #WrotenCrushWednesday like many others do, but I am thoroughly amused by the fact that Wroten's middle name is LeonDre. That explains a lot. A LOT.)
Even without Wroten, there are plenty of storylines surrounding the Sixers these days, none more compelling than that the saga of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. As the only active player on the roster who was born when Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid In Full" dropped, LRMAM has served the de facto leader of the team this season. CSN Philly's Dei Lynam discussed Mbah a Moute's role as the Sixers' unofficial mentor:
The soft-spoken Mbah a Moute admits he is not "a big talker." He prefers to lead by example.
Lead by example, you say? On the season, LRMAM is shooting 39.6 percent from the field, 23.9 percent from beyond the arc, and just 58.5 percent from the free throw line. Typically, this would be the point where I channel my inner Sohil Doshi and go in, but after I visited Mbah a Moute's Web site to get some fuel for my fire, I found... that he's a likable guy.
LRMAM watches Game of Thrones. He digs bowties. His role models include Nelson Mandela, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. And nothing for nothing, his site is pretty slick: It even has a contact form that I'm 97% sure is tied directly to his Gmail account. So the Mbah a Moute slander is on hold for the time being.
(I do have a problem with the Autoplay setting on his site's Soundcloud widget. Music and/or video that automatically starts when a page loads is THE WORST.)
So since that's out, there's always the option of doing a straight game preview. The Hawks have quietly ripped off eight wins in a row and are tied for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Over the past two weeks, Atlanta has been outscoring its opponents by nearly 15 points per game, thanks in large part to an impressive cadre of three-point shooters. In fact, tonight's matchup boasts two of the best long-range bombers in all of the land: Atlanta's Kyle Korver (55.1 percent on the season) and Philadelphia's Lord Robert Covington III (53.1 percent).
If these two teams had played a month ago, Atlanta would have won by 30. But the Sixers' perimeter defense has made marked improvements recently (Spurs game notwithstanding), so it's hard to figure how this one will play out. For those of you into trends, the Hawks swept the season series against the 76ers last season (3-0), and haven't lost to Philadelphia since April 2013.
But most important man in the building tonight? Hawks' organist Sir Foster. You may not remember the name, but he absolutely killed it at the All-Star Game earlier this year. And he even takes requests: If you hit him up on Twitter with a song, there's a better-than-zero chance that he'll actually play it. So, if any of you out there want to dedicate a song to that special someone in your life (a song that will be broadcast around the world via NBA League Pass), tonight might just be your night.