Philadelphia 76ers Have Tough Matchup Tonight in Atlanta


Coming off their strongest week of the young NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers will look to build on a solid four-game stretch that saw them play strongly against the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, and pick up their first two wins of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons. Because of those two wins combined with the atrocious play of the Pistons and New York Knicks, suddenly the Sixers don’t look historically bad compared to the rest of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sixers will look to build on this strong play this week, but they have a tough challenge tonight, as they get ready to take on the scalding-hot Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta. The Hawks have won seven straight, are coming off a dominating 108-92 win over the Pacers, and boast perhaps the hottest backcourt in the league right now.

More from Sixers News

Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder, and Kyle Korver all are playing phenomenally to start this season. Teague is shooting 42 percent from three and posting career-highs in points per game (17.5) and leads the Hawks in assists per game (7.1). He’s playing at an All-Star level right now. Even scarier than Teague’s production has been the emergence of Schroder as a backup point, as the young German has a similar game to Teague, and is finishing incredibly well at the rim, making him a major threat against bench units. Oh yeah, and Korver is shooting 55.1 percent from three, if that wasn’t enough.

The 76ers are going to be hard-pressed to deal with the Hawks backcourt given how they move the ball. The Sixers have actually been pretty decent defensively lately, but they struggle to contain motion offenses that shoot a ton of threes, which fits the Hawks to a T. Michael Carter-Williams is going to have a tough challenge tonight in guarding the Hawks points on the ball, and K.J. McDaniels‘s defensive impact will likely be neutralized, because it’s likely he’ll draw the Korver assignment and need to stick close to him off ball, not allowing him to play free safety defensively.

The Hawks have also been a solid defensive team, thriving on keeping teams out of the paint and forcing them into long-distance shots, then controlling the defensive glass. That is ominous for this Sixers team, they of the abysmal 29.9 three-point shooting as a team this year. The Hawks seem content to just let teams launch from three if they can limit drives, and with Robert Covington being the only player on the Sixers that is actually hitting anything from outside this year, I don’t expect that to work in the Sixers’ favor, especially without their best paint attacker, Tony Wroten, who’s doubtful with a knee sprain tonight.

The Hawks are a horrible matchup for the Sixers on both ends, and they get the Sixers at home. The team has been playing better of late, but the Hawks have been outright dominant for the past two weeks. I’d expect the Hawks’ win streak to advance to eight straight tonight, and then the Sixers can regroup and focus on a much more winnable game against Brooklyn on Friday.