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Sixers kick off two-game stint vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Sixers’ quirky early-season continues Thursday with the start of a home-and-home with the Hawks in Atlanta.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks At Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers put together an impressive performance Monday against one of the Western Conference’s best teams, the Phoenix Suns, defeating them 100-88. Joel Embiid is officially back and the team will need him for these next few weeks, with co-star James Harden being sidelined with a foot injury. They’ll look to build on their impressive win, facing off against a revamped Atlanta Hawks team — not just once, but twice!

You read that right. The Sixers will travel to Atlanta for their first game, and both teams will travel back to Philly for a second consecutive contest on Nov. 12.

This isn’t the same Hawks team that we’ve seen in the past. They shelled out a draft asset haul for All-Star Dejounte Murray, who has meshed well alongside Trae Young, John Collins, and company. The Hawks currently sit at fourth in the East, at a solid 7-3 record. Impressively, they rank fourth in offensive rating and hold their own defensively at 14th.

All the questions surrounding the Murray-Young backcourt have disappeared overnight, with both thriving and putting up gaudy numbers. Through 10 games, Dejounte is averaging 22.3 points, 8.4 assists, and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Trae Young’s stats haven’t taken much of a hit either, with averages of 28.2 points and 9.4 assists per game.

The Hawks have assembled a solid supporting cast behind their star duo. Collins is still there, whether or not he wants to be, and is a capable third option. They recently shelled out serious money to DeAndre Hunter who can produce on both ends when healthy. They also have a talented big man duo with Clint Capela and rising prospect Onyeka Okongwu.

Things have been trending slightly upward on the Sixers’ side of things. Their offense now ranks 11th in the league, with their defense also being middle of the pack at 16th. The only Sixers listed on the injury report besides Harden ahead of tonight’s game are on G-League assignments; Julian Champagnie, Michael Foster Jr., and Jaden Springer. Danuel House Jr., who was on the injury reported with an illness, is not listed.

While Embiid shined in their victory against Phoenix, his co-stars struggled. Tyrese Maxey shot an uncharacteristic 4 of 18 from the field, while Tobias Harris had 21 points on 18 shot attempts. The Sixers will certainly need more out of both of them if they are to stay afloat during this stretch without James Harden.

After the game, Embiid joked that the season started now, since the spotlight has shifted back to the Sixers:

We’ll see if Embiid and the Sixers can start off their season with two consecutive victories against two worthy opponents.

Game Details

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks

When: 8:00 pm ET

Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA TV

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Follow: @LibertyBallers

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