Hawks-76ers Preview


After struggling in three consecutive games, the Atlanta Hawks are focused on getting back to their winning ways.

It might be a good time to be catching the Philadelphia 76ers, who could be without their top two scorers.

The Hawks will try for their sixth win in seven road games Friday night when they meet the stumbling 76ers, losers of five straight.

While they've dropped back-to-back games at home, the Hawks own the best road record in the Eastern Conference at 7-3. Atlanta (15-8) was riding high in winning 11 of 13 before stumbling through its last three games with two losses and an overtime win over league-worst Washington.

Golden State handed the Hawks their worst defeat of the season, 115-93, on Saturday and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 68 points in Oklahoma City's 100-92 win at Atlanta on Wednesday.

"We're not a team that's going to lay down, but we've had a couple of tough games here," guard Kyle Korver said. "We definitely have to get better and we have to learn from these losses."

Atlanta, though, has played much tighter defense on the road, giving up 90.3 points per game compared to 97.2 at Philips Arena.

The Hawks have a chance to continue their success on the road against a Philadelphia team that has not had point guard Jrue Holiday for the past four games due to a foot injury. Holiday, who leads the 76ers with averages of 18.4 points and 8.9 assists, is a game-time decision.

Making matters worse, second-leading scorer Evan Turner (15.1) is also a game-time decision after leaving Wednesday's 125-103 loss at Houston with a left ankle injury.

After a 10-6 start, Philadelphia has lost eight of 10 in December.

"When you put a loss behind your name as a coach, they don't ask who played in the game," coach Doug Collins said. "There is no asterisk that says you're undermanned."

Dorell Wright has helped pick up some of the slack, averaging 22.5 points and shooting 15 of 33 - 10 of 20 from 3-point range - in his last two games.

Thaddeus Young, though, will try to get back on track after averaging 13.6 points over his last five games. He had been averaging 18.7 in his previous nine.

The low-scoring 76ers (12-14) have reached 100 points in consecutive games, but they've given up an average of 114.3 in their last three.

Jeff Teague will try to take advantage of the 76ers without their starting point guard after scoring a team-best 19 points against the Thunder.

Josh Smith is averaging 19.4 points in his career at Philadelphia, tied for his best mark in any opposing city. Smith scored 34 points in Philadelphia in the teams' last meeting, a 95-90 76ers win March 31.

Korver has played a key role in Atlanta's success on the road, averaging 13.0 points while shooting 24 of 40 (60.0 percent) from 3-point range.

Atlanta could be without guard Devin Harris, who missed Wednesday's game with a left foot injury, as it tries to snap a five-game losing streak against Philadelphia and hand the 76ers their first six-game skid since March 30-April 9, 2010.

Guard Lou Williams will be facing his former team for the first time signing with Atlanta in the offseason. Williams, third on the Hawks with 14.3 points per game, spent the first seven seasons of his career with Philadelphia.

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