Revenge Game in South Philly: Hawks-76ers Preview
The last time the Atlanta Hawks were in South Philadelphia, it didn’t go very well for the Philadelphia 76ers. Tonight, the Sixers will look to get some revenge after a brutal seven game series exit in last year’s NBA playoffs. The Hawks will arrive at the Wells Fargo Center with a record of 3-2. They are coming off a road loss to the Washington Wizards, a game in which they were favorited on the road. The 76ers, avoided a fourth quarter collapse on Thursday night against the Pistons and ended up winning 110-102 to improve to 3-2 on the year as well.
Joel Embiid has been dealing with some knee pain since the game one of the season when he hurt it against the Pelicans in New Orleans. However, that did not slow him down against the Pistons. Embiid dropped 30 points and snagged 18 rebounds, which was great to see after a slow start to the season. Embiid has played in all five games this year and is averaging 21.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. He is listed as questionable tonight, but I think it’s safe to assume that Embiid will likely be listed as questionable throughout the season.
Ben Simmons is out tonight, as he continues to work through some personal reasons. He and Joel Embiid were the only two players named on the 76ers injury report as of last night. News also game out this morning that Ben Simmons was at practice with the team this morning in Camden. Keith Pompey even took a fuzzy, creepy video of Simmons working out on a bike, just off the court. As for the Hawks, Bogdon Bogdanovic (right ankle soreness) is probable. Onyeka Okongwu (right shoulder recovery) is out.
Although he’s been crying a lot and getting fines, Trae Young has been off to yet another solid start for the Hawks. He’s averaging 24.2 points and 10.0 assists per game. Joining him on the list of “great starts” for the Hawks would be John Collins, who has proved he was worth every penny of the five-year $125 million contract he signed during the offseason. Collins is averaging 24.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 1.2 SPG this year and maybe we’ll see him and Embiid really go at it tonight after continued discussions around Collins’ beef with The Process and the 76ers continued during the offseason.
Read More: John Collins explains his beer with the 76ers, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons >>
The Hawks defense has been significantly better this season, especially along the perimeter. The Hawks are fourth in opponent’s three point percentage allowed and ninth in opponents three-point rate this season. They will need a strong defensive showing tonight as the Sixers will enter the game shooting a league-best 41% from beyond the arc this season.
|Atlanta Hawks||+3 (-106)||+130||O 212 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-3 (-114)||-154||U 212 (-110)|
It’s tough to bet against the 76ers at home. However, I don’t feel great about this game tonight. Although shooting well, the 76ers offense just isn’t there yet and I’m still skeptical of their defense along the perimeter with Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry. I think we’ll see tonight that the absence of Ben Simmons against an Eastern Conference contender will rear it’s ugly head again, just as it did against the New York Knicks last week.
I think I’ll go ahead and avoid the spread and money line tonight and just take the under. With the Hawks on the road and the 76ers still getting comfortable without Ben Simmons on the floor, I don’t see much offense tonight.
Boring, I know.
Prediction: Hawks 101. Sixers 107.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY SPORTS
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