Sixers vs. Hawks: How to watch, betting preview & predictions

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Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris, right, reaches for the ball before Atlanta Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter could get to it during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks tonight, hoping to get back in the win column after back-to-back losses to the Knicks and the Jazz. The Hawks will be looking to do the exact same thing at home after losses to the Magic and Pacers over the last week.

Sixers vs Hawks Game Info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (23-12) at Atlanta Hawks (14-21)

When: 7:30 pm EST

Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

Watch: NBC Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports Southeast

Sixers vs Hawks betting info

Spread: Sixers +1.5 | Hawks -1.5
Moneyline: Sixers +100 | Hawks -120
Total: Over/Under 244

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Latest on the Sixers

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris dunks next to Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Sixers will again be without reigning MVP Joel Embiid, as he’s still dealing with knee inflammation and the effects of a sprained ankle. As one of the best, if not the best player, in the league this season, Embiid has been dominant on both sides of the ball throughout the first half of the year. Without Embiid, the team has been a shell of itself.

Guard Tyrese Maxey can only do so much as the second star of the team without Embiid on the court. Missing players like DeAnthony Melton and Tobias Harris, as they did against the Jazz, doesn’t help either.

The Sixers have depth and quality along their starting lineup as well as their reserves; the problem of late is that they’re not always available. Robert Covington has been out for the past three games, battling swelling in his knee, the same as Embiid. Harris and Melton were out, and that left the Sixers completely shorthanded against the Jazz.

With Harris expected back, it gives the Sixers a much better chance against the Hawks. After starting slowly this season, Harris had a good run of games from December 22nd against the Raptors right up until he injured himself against the Knicks. Over those six games, Harris was averaging 23.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and seemed to have regained his shooting touch. They’ll need Harris to be back in that form tonight.

Latest on the Hawks

Sixers
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) collects a pass as Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Hawks have an extensive injury list going into tonight’s game, highlighted by Trae Young (probable, shoulder) and Clint Capela (questionable, Achilles). The two of them represent the Hawks leaders in the five main statistical categories. While Young seems to be ok to go, Capela is going to be a game-time decision. If the Hawks are without Capela, they may find some more issues in dealing with the Sixers front court.

The Hawks haven’t had much luck this season and are currently sitting in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. With Young, guard Dejounte Murray, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, they have three players, all averaging over 17 points a game but all able to put up close to thirty points on any given night.

Murray, Bogdanovic, and forward Saddiq Bey have all had their names floating around in the rumor mill as the NBA trade deadline approaches. Oddly enough, as of recently, all three have had some sort of connection or mentions of going to the Sixers at the deadline as they gear up for the playoffs, something that the Hawks have no hope of getting to.

Keys to the game

Sixers
Atlanta Hawks’ Wesley Matthews, left, drives to the basket against Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Sixers need to make their shots. As simple as they may sound, they haven’t been able to do it the past two games. Against the Jazz, they shot 18.4% on their three-point attempts and 26.1% against the Knicks. For a team that likes to spread the ball around and get good looks, they have bene lost without Embiid on the court.

The Sixers are 17th in the league in three-point percentage and have had way too many games where players like Maxey, Harris, and Murray have been disasters from deep. If they’re going to win tonight against a Hawks team that has some shooters, they’re going to have to be playing their best. They’re not going to be afforded many mistakes, with Young and Murray looking to shut down Maxey.

If Joel Embiid were healthy, this game would be an easy call as there hasn’t been anyone in the league, nor any team, that has been able to stop Embiid this year. Without Embiid, the Sixers will rely on Paul Reed, Nico Batum, Marcus Morris Sr., and Mo Bamba to give them some interior defense and hopefully a little scoring.

There is one “smoking gun,” and that’s Pat Beverley, who hasn’t had a crazy, explosive game since December 1st against the Celtics when he scored 26 points. This could be the night that Pat Bev takes some control of the team and gives them a jolt.

Prediction

Sixers 117 – Hawks 115