Key players could return as Sixers host Hawks

The Philadelphia 76ers will try to extend their winning streak to three games when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

The Sixers won two games in Orlando, including 133-103 on Sunday, and will play the 76ers in Philadelphia before beginning a three-game trip. The Hawks have dropped two in a row after Sunday’s 106-98 home loss to the Miami Heat.

Philadelphia and Atlanta have split two games this season.

Each team hopes to get a key piece back in the lineup. Philadelphia star Joel Embiid has missed four games with a mid-foot strain but could play on Monday. Atlanta center Clint Capela, who averages a double-double of 11.1 points and 11.9 rebounds a game, has missed two games with dental pain.

Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris has picked up some of the slack in Embiid’s absence. He scored a season-high 25 points on Sunday after posting 23 points and 10 rebounds on Friday. He is averaging 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds this season.

“Honestly, just doing my part, but bringing guys along,” Harris said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who haven’t been in many of these situations and we’ve got guys who have, and then we’ve got new guys coming in and playing big minutes. So there’s a lot of emotions with that as well because you want to go out and play your best every single night. Just monitoring where we’re at as a group and keeping guys level-headed through it all. Ups and downs.”

Shake Milton, who had his first career double-double on Friday, returned on Sunday to score 29 points. Milton has 20-plus points in three straight games and in four of his last five.

“He’s really setting the tone with his pace out there and being able to allow teams to figure out how he’s going to pick apart the defenses,” Harris said. “He’s in a great rhythm, a great flow.”

Atlanta has struggled from the perimeter this year against the zone defenses used by the opposition. On Sunday, the Hawks made only 39.8 percent of their field-goal tries and rank 22nd in the league at 46 percent. Trae Young, the team’s leading scorer at 28.2 points, scored 22 but was 4-for-16 from the floor, and Dejounte Murray was 5-for-16.

“The zone became a stop sign, and it can’t become a stop sign,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half attacking the gaps and making the plays. The second half it became a stop sign. You have to be aggressive, and we weren’t aggressive.”

Young and Murray combined for 83 points in Friday’s 128-122 loss to Houston. But the shots weren’t falling on Sunday.

“We can’t get down when we’re not making shots,” McMillan said. “Or if the offense is not in flow. We have a tendency when a shot is not falling to get down. And that is the time when you’ve got make sure you pull together. Maybe you grab a teammate who may be struggling and say we’ve got to keep our heads up.”

McMillan shook up the rotation and gave playing time to Trent Forrest, who scored his first basket of the season, and Frank Kaminsky. McMillan did not use Aaron Holiday or his brother, Justin Holiday.

–Field Level Media

Go to Source
Author: Sportsnaut

NBA News Sportsnaut