The Atlanta Hawks travel to Broad St. this evening to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks are a futile 12-29 on the season, placing them 12th in the Eastern Conference, and they have won just five of their 24 away games. The Sixers, who hold the NBA’s best home record at 18-3, look to topple the Hawks and get back in the win column after a maddening loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
When these two teams met earlier this season (Oct. 29th), Philly dismantled the Hawks as only one Sixers starter played over 30 minutes and Brett Brown’s squad cruised to a 21-point victory. The star of the game in that meeting was Ben Simmons, who came just one assist shy of a triple-double while scoring 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting and gobbling up 12 rebounds. The high scorer for Atlanta that evening was Kent Bazemore (18 points), but just about every member of the Hawks, including Bazemore, was largely ineffective.
Tonight, Lloyd Pierce, former Sixers assistant coach and current Hawks head coach, will have at his disposal the services John Collins’ -- something that couldn’t be said on October 29th. Collins currently leads the Hawks in points (18.8) and rebounds (10.6) per game and figures to be a big part of Atlanta’s game plan. In the Hawks most recent outing, a loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Collins totaled 30 points and 14 rebounds. With Collins at the four and Dewayne Dedmon at center, it will be interesting to see how the Sixers match up defensively. Collins is longer and much more athletic and springy than Wilson Chandler, the Sixers’ typical starting power forward. Jonah Bolden, whose court exposure has been significantly increasing recently, may actually be better equipped to handle Collins. Bolden has just two starts on the season and they came when the Sixers were thin on healthy bodies, so it’s unlikely his number is called to begin the game — but it would be a move some Sixers fans would welcome.
The Sixers haven’t lost to the Hawks since March 29th, 2017. Tonight figures to keep the Sixers’ winning ways going, as they’re coming off a day’s rest and the Hawk aren’t necessarily craving a victory as they’re hoping to fare well in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery. All of the Sixers’ big three will be active, and there’s a clear disparity between the talent on the Sixers’ roster and the talent on the Hawk’s roster.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
When: 7:00 pm EST
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Vegas: Sixers -12.5