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Atlanta Hawks vs Philadelphia 76ers

7:00 PM ET / Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia / NBC Sports Network Philadelphia

I’m going to exit on the world’s sturdiest limb right here and say we received’t see Jahlil Okafor on the courtroom tonight. Richaun Holmes needs to be again Friday, in order that leaves a bunch of backup heart minutes to Amir Johnson, coming off of his finest recreation as a Sixer. On 6-for-10 taking pictures, Johnson posted his first double-double (12 factors, 10 rebounds) since April of 2016.
However Amir Johnson doesn’t matter proper now (sorry Amir). The Sixers are coming off probably the most satisfying wins in latest reminiscence. It wasn’t flashy, and it was nerve-wracking, however they held and maintained a lead from wire-to-wire towards a wholesome model of the 2nd finest staff within the NBA (most likely). As our personal Marc Whittington put it in his recap, it was “their most spectacular win since Good Ship Course of set sail.” He’s not flawed.
The staff could also be sitting of their snug dwelling on the backside of the league in fouls and turnovers, but when they give the impression of being out of their winows with binoculars, they will see their spot close to the highest of the league in assists (4th), steals (seventh, up 6.6% since final yr), and 3P% (sixth, 38.1%). Ben Simmons’ VORP is identical as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis. He’s assisted on 137 factors scored this season, or 19.5 per recreation. Add that to his level whole and he averages giving the Sixers, by way of scoring or helping, 38 factors a recreation. And, VORP! I’ll cease speaking about VORP now.
The purpose is, this staff continues to be very, very younger. There'll nonetheless be studying curves. There'll nonetheless be rust. However final recreation confirmed us who this staff may beeven with youth and rust and inexperience, towards top-of-the-line groups within the league. Tonight’s opponent isn’t that, so in fact if historical past is any reference they received’t make this simple.
The Atlanta Hawks come to city sporting a 1-6 document, with a median loss margin of their six losses of 10.three factors. They’re permitting opponents to out-steal, out-rebound, out-assist, out-shoot, and out-score them each evening. Plus, they common solely three.four blocks a recreation, whereas the Sixers as being blocked an astonishingly excessive 6.four occasions per recreation. That’s ridiculous, however the Hawks shouldn’t attain that stage.
Final recreation was the win all of us needed, however tonight’s recreation would possibly really inform us extra about who this staff is.

7:00 PM / Wells Fargo Center, Philaelphia / NBC Sports Network Philadelphia

Former Sixer Ersan Ilyasova can be returning to face a staff he began 40 video games for final season if he wasn’t injured. His Sixers tenure was a brief one, however his play allowed Dario Saricto spend a while coming off the bench to stand up to hurry with the NBA recreation earlier than beginning after Ilyasova was traded and making an actual run on the Rookie of the 12 months award. The commerce that despatched Ilyasova to Atlanta introduced Tiago Splitter and the decide that grew to become Mathias Lessort.
Talking of Saric, he’s had tough video games towards the Hawks in his minimal time as an NBA participant. In his highest scoring recreation towards Atlanta, he put up 15/eight/four however solely shot 27.eight% from the sector. In Joel Embiid’s solely recreation towards the Hawks, he scored 14 factors to go along with 2 rebounds and a couple of blocks.
The banged-up Hawks will seemingly be with out Ilyasova, former St. Joe’s standout DeAndre’ Bembry, and Miles Plumlee.
Because the 2013-2014 season, the Sixers are 1-14 towards the Hawks. Atlanta has received their final 7 conferences.

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