Sixers Look To Capitalize On Shorthanded Hawks

NBA: MAR 01 76ers at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (12) looks on during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Following Joel Embiid‘s 41-point performance in a win over the Boston Celtics, the Sixers are back in action against the Atlanta Hawks. This game will take place back in Philadelphia and will be the third time these two teams matchup already this season. The Sixers likely still have a sour taste still in their mouths from last year’s playoffs exit. They will look to take it to the Hawks once again- at least whatever players are available.

Sixers Injuries + Covid:

With Covid cases on the rise across the country and the grind of the season beginning to set in, just about every team in the league is extremely shorthanded. On the bright side, the Sixers are expected to get Tyrese Maxey (quad) and Furkan Korkmaz (non-Covid illness) back for this matchup. Jaden Springer also is no longer on the injury report and appears to have cleared concussion protocol. Given the lack of depth, this could serve as a great opportunity to give Springer his first extended NBA minutes.

Injury Report:

Danny Green became the latest Sixer to test positive as news broke yesterday that he had entered Covid health and safety protocols. The veteran has been playing solid basketball lately and is a notable loss for the Sixers. This likely throws much more responsibility on Matisse Thybulle‘s plate, and Isaiah Joe will likely get some extended run in his absence as well.

Hawks Injuries + Covid:

The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the teams affected the most by the recent Covid outbreaks in the league. There is seemingly another member of their team testing positive every day, and the team is currently a skeleton of its usual self. The Hawks have recently signed Lance Stevenson, Malcolm Hill, and Wes Iwundu to 10-day hardship contracts to fill this void, but overcoming these roster issues is a difficult task.

Injury Report:

This is a brutal amount of players to be without from the Hawks’ perspective. Adam Silver and the NBA have made it clear that they have no intention of shutting down, and Atlanta will be forced to continue to battle through shorthanded. It is also important to note that the Hawks are coming off a 104-98 loss to the Orlando Magic last night.

Overall Thoughts:

While NBA games are seemingly more about who is healthier rather than which team is better, the Sixers still must make sure to take care of business. The Sixers currently are in 6th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 16-15. Philly is far from 100% healthy, but with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris already cleared from their time in Covid protocol, they have hopefully gotten past the worst of their outbreak.

If the Sixers can begin to pick up some momentum and rake up some wins, it would go a long way to putting themselves in a better position for potential playoff seedings. The Sixers are listed as 9.5 point favorites, and this should not be a game that challenges them. They tend to struggle to put games away, but this is a great opportunity to wrap the game up early and give Joel Embiid some rest.