The Philadelphia 76ers hit the road on Thursday to take on the last-place Atlanta Hawks. Philadelphia has won two straight coming into the contest, while the Hawks dropped their last game.
Both of these teams’ star players had touching Kobe Bryant tributes, changing their number during the last game they played in. The 76ers’ Joel Embiid donned No. 24 in his return to the lineup and even made a Kobe fadeaway over the course of the game.
Bryant was the inspiration to Embiid to start playing basketball in his teenage years, being a player Embiid always admired and tried to be like. There is a good chance we likely never have heard his name if Bryant never had the impact on the game that he did.
For Atlanta, we saw Trae Young wear No. 8 for the first few seconds of his game on Sunday, just a few hours after the news broke. And he had yet another dominant performance that reminded us of how special he is. Young posted 45 points, six rebounds and 14 assists, putting on an absolute show.
Whether or not that was a one-game tribute or not, it is something we’ll remember about Young in regard to Bryant, and it was a reminder of how great Bryant truly was.
Philadelphia is a 7.5-point favorite for the road showdown, as the over/under is set at 228.5.
Going For Three
Zhaire Smith does not play a ton, but did switch his number from No. 8 to No. 7 last game, and will wear No. 5 moving forward. As the 76ers remain without Josh Richardson, all of the other 2-guards have continued to step their game up. Matisse Thybulle has been a menace on the defensive end, while Furkan Korkmaz cannot seem to miss a three-pointer this season.
Shake Milton drew the start in the 76ers’ last game and nailed five of six shots from the floor. Ben Simmons is playing his best basketball of the year, and perhaps that we have ever seen from him.
This is a team with solid depth that may have finally turned a corner. The East is a lot tougher this year than last as far as teams at the top are concerned, so Philadelphia has to kick it to a higher gear to have a chance at a deep run.
Hawks Trying To Keep Newfound Rhythm
At 12-36, it has not been a great year for the Hawks. But Young was voted in as an All-Star starter in just his second season, as his stats have been something to marvel at. Young is averaging 29 points, 4.6 rebounds and nine assists per game in 35 minutes a night.
John Collins is averaging 19 points and 10 boards per game for the season and is hoping to keep it rolling for the Hawks Thursday night. He has missed just one game outside of his suspension, with his consistency an important factor for the Hawks.
As the game goes on, there is still a lot more on the minds of the Hawks than just this game. If they can stay focused and Young can get a little help from the young guys, they have a chance.
Philadelphia Gets The Win
It will be another win for the Sixers, which will push them to 15 games over .500. Give me Philadelphia to win an easy one in Atlanta.
Free Play: PHI -7.5
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