76ers Prep for Trae Young and Hawks

Sixers-Hawks Series Begins with Sunday, Tuesday Games in Philadelphia
by Matt Murphy

The schedule for the 76ers-Hawks series is out.

After Sunday’s 1 p.m. opening game, the two teams will meet again in Philadelphia on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. From there, the series will shift to Atlanta on Friday, June 11 at 7:30, with the start time for Game 4 the following Monday still to be determined.

The 76ers practiced Friday afternoon.

Doc Rivers said Joel Embiid, who’s dealing with a right knee injury, participated in some portions of the team’s practice.

“He went through a lot of the stuff today,” Rivers said. “As far as when we were shooting and stuff like that, he looked great.”

Embiid's status for Sunday's game will be updated in the 5:30 p.m. injury report.

But Dwight Howard was impressed with Embiid’s performance.

“He looked great today,” Howard said of Embiid. “He moved great. He was jumping, he was moving around. He looked like his old self. So, I’m happy to see that."

Zeroing in on the Hawks as the opponent, the Sixers took two of the three games in the regular-season series, but both teams were short-handed at times.

“You could make a case this may be the first time we’ve played each other, going into the playoffs,” said Rivers.

The conversation about Atlanta starts with third-year point guard Trae Young.

“They have a ton of shooting on the floor and a ton of playmakers on the floor, and that’s what makes [Young] so much more difficult,” said Rivers. “You just can’t leave -- like we did in the Washington series -- guys and go trap. Can’t do that against Atlanta. It’s going to be a series of different coverages from us. Different matchups, for sure. And different looks on Trae individually.”

76ers’ wing Danny Green knows the focus starts with Trae’s...treys.

“You want to take away [Atlanta’s] threes,” Green said. “You want to take away Trae’s threes. His penetration. His floaters. But you can’t take away all three of them. He’s very good at it, he’s very crafty, for a reason.

“Your mental approach is to try to give him less touches, throw different things at him. Try to make him play towards his weaknesses, which is not many things, but trying not to let him beat you, as well as the others."

Howard is an Atlanta native.

“It’s my hometown team, so for me it’s kind of like a rivalry within itself,” said Howard. “I’m looking forward to it and I think we’re up for the challenge.”

But Philadelphia is his current home.

The 76ers will be back in front of a capacity crowd at home for Game 1 on Sunday, and Howard can’t wait.

“It feels like I’ve been here forever,” Howard said. “These fans have been great to me and I appreciate each and every single one of you fans out there.

“We’re looking forward to holding up that trophy together. Having a parade. But the work has to be done and we need you guys there every single night, on the road or at home. We need you to be loud and proud for your 76ers.”

And then, the charismatic 16-year pro burst into song.

A mashup.

“Here Come the Sixers” followed by another classic.

Ain't no stoppin' us now

We're on the move

The singing was loud and proud. For your 76ers.

Game 1 between the 76ers and Hawks is Sunday at 1 p.m. in Philadelphia.

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