Friday, January 31, 2014, 7:30PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Posted: January 31, 2014
With Wednesday’s thrilling 95-94 win in Boston still fresh in their minds, the Sixers look to maintain that momentum against the Atlanta Hawks Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.
The game is the fifth Dollar Dog Night at Wells Fargo Center this season and the second of the New Year.
Matchup To Watch
PF: Paul Millsap vs. Thaddeus Young
With big men Al Horford (pectoral surgery, season-ending) and Pero Antic (ankle, 1-3 weeks) on the shelf, eighth-year forward Paul Millsap’s role on the offensive end has increased. In the 28 games before Horford’s injury, Millsap’s usage rate was 23.6%; in the 15 games since, that number has increased to 28.5%. With Antic sidelined due to a stress fracture in his right ankle, Millsap’s usage rate ballooned is 32.3% over his last three games.
The 6’8” power forward is averaging career highs in points (17.8), assists (3.0), and blocks (1.2) per game and is also pulling down 8.2 rebounds a night, the third-best rate of his career. Since Horford’s injury, the Hawks are 6-2 when Millsap scores 20 or more points.
Since averaging 26.7 points on shooting splits of 55.0 FG%, 44.0 3P%, and 87.1 FT% during a six-game stretch in late-December/early-January, Thaddeus Young has come back to earth offensively – he’s still averaging a career-high 17.3 points per game on 48.1% shooting. But his consistent effort on both ends of the floor has been as apparent as ever.
On the year, Young is second in the league in steals (89, 2.1 SPG). He’s the only full-time frontcourt player since Karl Malone (2001-02) to rank in the top-10 in steals in a season. If he can maintain that distinction, he would become the only power forward or center in league histroy to finish first or second in steals. Over his last five games, that penchant for thievery has been even more pronounced, with the seventh-year veteran logging 19 (3.8 SPG). During that stretch, he’s also averaging 17.0 points (44.6 FG%), 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists.
Scouting The Hawks
The Injury Bug
Besides the aforementioned injuries to Al Horford (pectoral surgery, season-ending) and Pero Antic (ankle, 1-3 weeks), the Hawks have also been without point guard Jeff Teague, who is struggling with a sprained left ankle that has sidelined him for each of Atlanta’s last three games. In their last two games without their leading distributor (7.3 APG), they’ve gone with former Sixer Shelvin Mack at point guard. The 24-year-old Butler product has responded positively, scoring nine points and dishing out four assists in 24 minutes of action Saturday and following that up with a 15-point, seven-assist outing in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Teague is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Sixers.
With the city of Atlanta experiencing a rare snowstorm earlier this week, schools, businesses, and government agencies were forced to shut down while authorities attempted to combat the conditions. As a result, the Hawks had to postpone Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons at Philips Arena. When they come to Philadelphia, they’ll be coming off an unexpected three-day break, having not played since Monday (vs. OKC).
On December 6, Kyle Korver surpassed Dana Barros’ record for consecutive games with a three-pointer, notching his 90th straight. Since then, he’s continued to cement his legacy as one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history. The former Sixer is up to 113 straight contests with at least one three made. Acquired by Philadelphia on draft night in 2003, Korver ranks second in franchise history in 3PM (661), trailing only Allen Iverson (885).
Tale of the Tape
|Category||Hawks (23-21)||Sixers (15-31)|
|PPG||Paul Millsap – 17.8||Evan Turner – 18.5|
|RPG||Paul Millsap – 8.2||Spencer Hawes – 8.7|
|APG||Jeff Teague – 7.3||Michael Carter-Williams – 6.7|
|SPG||Paul Millsap – 1.7||Michael Carter-Williams – 2.4|
|BPG||Paul Millsap – 1.2||Spencer Hawes – 1.3|