After a two-day break, the Philadelphia 76ers will take the court in Atlanta this evening against the Hawks. The Hawks have been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, but they’ve got a feisty swagger about themselves of late. The Sixers are fresh off what was possibly their biggest win of the season, getting the monkey off their back that is the Boston Celtics.
Leading the way for what’s been a decidedly solid month of play for a rebuilding Hawks team is rookie Trae Young, who is averaging 24.9 points and 8.7 assists over his last 15 games while shooting over 40% from distance. While Young has had his issues with ball security, he’s made promising growth over the last four months, displaying the potential to be the offensive foundation of a franchise. It will be interesting to see how a relatively towering Sixers lineup contains the rookie.
If anyone should know not to sleep on John Collins, it should be the Sixers — the sophomore nailed a game-winning fadeaway over former Sixer Mike Muscala the last time these two teams faced off. A walking double-double, Collins has served as a threatening rolling partner to Trae Young.
Joel Embiid will look to continue what has been a dominant return to the court. The “most unstoppable player in the league” is averaging 29.6 points and 17.0 rebounds over his last five. Embiid played in just one of the two previous meetings between Philly and Atlanta, and the Hawks kept him in check: Jo finished with just 10 points in 29 minutes of play. (Markelle Fultz dropped 16 in that game, by the way.) Embiid will likely draw a respectable defender in Dewayne Dedmon for most of tonight’s matchup.
The Sixers go for their 7th straight win tonight, and deja vu is setting in. Philly has a pretty friendly schedule down the last stretch of the season here, taking on just two teams over .500 (the Bucks and the Nets) in their final 10 games. Could they tie their 16-0 run to finish the 2017-2018 season? We’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit — first Brett Brown and Co. need to take care of business against a scrappy Hawks team.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Vegas: Sixers -8