The Philadelphia 76ers may have already locked in their No. 3 Eastern Conference spot, but there are two more games to be played. Most of the Sixers’ starters, however, will not be the ones playing.
Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and P.J. Tucker have all been listed out for Friday night’s contest vs. the Atlanta Hawks on the road. Tobias Harris and Jaden Springer are questionable and De’Anthony Melton is doubtful.
The Sixers have nothing left to play for during the regular season, so it’s expected that the likes of Embiid and Harden are being held out for “injury recovery.” It would be shocking to see any more of either of them before the postseason. For many, it was surprising enough to see them get serious minutes in Thursday night’s game.
Maxey missed the Sixers’ last contest with neck stiffness, the injury he is listed out for Friday with as well. This could be from when he fell backwards in Tuesday’s game vs. the Boston Celtics, when he appeared to fall hard on his back and bang his head on the floor. That being said, again, it’s a meaningless game, so hopefully it’s mostly just precaution and common sense that he is riding the bench.
Harris has been listed as questionable for left hip injury recovery. He is the only regular starter not listed as out for the contest just yet, but that may change before game time.
Springer was called up from the Delaware Blue Coats today after winning the NBA G League Championship last night. He is listed as questionable with a right ankle sprain. Springer is coming off an impressive Finals series performance, dropping 43 in Game 1 and 21 points in the series-clinching Game 2 Thursday night. If he is able to play, it is likely Doc Rivers gives him some minutes on the floor in these last few games.
De’Anthony Melton is doubtful with right calf tightness.
The crowded injury list was expected with the Sixers playing for nothing. For the Hawks, it’s a different story. The Hawks are currently the No. 8 seed, one game ahead of the 40-40 Toronto Raptors. They hold the tiebreaker over Toronto, so they’d have to lose both of their remaining contests to drop to ninth. Atlanta cannot catch the No. 7 Heat because they lost the season series, 3-1, and are two games back with two to play. For the Hawks, only De’Andre Hunter is listed as questionable with a left knee injury.
The Sixers are set to tip off with the Hawks in Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. EST for the penultimate game of Philadelphia’s regular season.