The Sixers got revenge on the Rockets on Monday night after Eric Gordon cruelly nailed a buzzer-beater in their earlier outing. This time around, it was the dynamic duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons that did all the damage. Simmons led the way posting yet another near triple double (24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists) and was ably supported by Embiid, who chipped in with 22 points and nine rebounds. In the win, the Sixers shot over 41.7% from the perimeter and an equally impressive 55% from the field. If Simmons and Embiid continue their hot form they’re going to form a lethal tandem that will terrorize teams for years to come.
Atlanta suffered yet another defeat, this time to the Bucks, on Monday night. Dennis Schroder was solid, contributing 21 points, going 50% from the field, while big man John Collins posted 14 points off the bench from only seven shots. The play of the rookie has been a highlight in an otherwise poor start to the season for the Hawks, who started the season promisingly with a win over the Mavericks only to slide to six straight defeats. They sit 1-6 and pegged to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
Three keys to the game
Stopping the terrific two of Philadelphia – Embiid and Simmons have been sensational so far this season. For Atlanta to be any chance they need to curb both of them somehow. If they can stop Simmons from getting into a rhythm offensively and force him to shoot jump shots then his effectiveness will wane. They’ll have a tougher time with Embiid as their stocks at the center position are quite thin. They may need to double the big guy down low or at least try and make him take uncomfortable shots.
Limiting Schroder – Schroder has been one of the bright spots of Atlanta’s season so far as the franchise looks to build around their young international point guard. Schroder does have a tendency to put up bad shots and can be a little hot headed. If the Sixers’ defense can pressure him early on then it’ll make their lives a whole lot easier down the stretch.
Forcing turnovers – Following Tuesday’s games, the Sixers were tied for fourth in the league for assists per game. A lot of that has to do with the play of Simmons, but if the Hawks can somehow force him into making bad passes and capitalize off those turnovers then that’ll help them get some easy points, and in turn put the pressure back on Philadelphia. They’ll need to improve in that area though, as the Hawks are currently fourth worst in the league for points in transition.
Matchup to watch
Taurean Prince vs Ben Simmons – Taurean Prince has shown signs of improvement this season and is looking more confident and comfortable offensively. Prince’s strengths though lie in his defense. He’s a very solid one-on-one defender and is the prime candidate to take on the Rookie of the Year favorite. Prince will need to be engaged for the full 48 minutes as Simmons has been in red-hot form. Look for Simmons to use his size, length and physical attributes to take advantage of the sophomore forward.
Atlanta Hawks projected starting lineup
PG – Dennis Schroder | SG – Kent Bazemore | SF – Taurean Prince | PF – Mike Muscala | C – Dewayne Dedmon
Philadelphia 76ers projected starting lineup
PG – Ben Simmons | SG – Jerryd Bayless | SF – Dario Saric | PF – Robert Covington | C – Joel Embiid
Embiid is Philadelphia’s leading scorer with 20 points per game and with no minutes restriction really affecting the center at this stage he’s a good bet for your fantasy pick. He’s also averaging ten rebounds and a block. Simmons is another solid pick as the rookie has the ball in his hands a whole heap of the game. He’s averaging 18.4 points per game (second best on the team) and is the Sixers’ leading assist provider with 7.7.
For the Hawks, you can’t go past Schroder. The point guard is averaging 22.2 points per game and 6.8 assists. His 3-point shooting has been quite poor at 27.8% but like Simmons he has the ball in his hands a lot of the time, which generally leads to a high fantasy points tally.
Philadelphia are a ten point favorite in this one. The Hawks just lack the talent to make this a close game unless Schroder can go off for 30 points or more. So the Sixers covering is my tip.
Simmons and Embiid continue their scintillating form and lead the Sixers to an easy win over the Hawks. Collins continues to impress for Atlanta off the bench with great energy and rebounding but it’ll be to no avail as Philadelphia takes care of his side with ease, winning 110-96.
Catch this one on League Pass, Fox Sports Southeast and NBC Sports. Tip-off is at 7 pm ET at Wells Fargo Center.
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