Instant Replay: Sixers 101, Hawks 90

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Instant Replay: Sixers 101, Hawks 90

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA -- The Sixers entered Friday’s game against the Hawks intent on redeeming themselves for Wednesday night’s loss to the league-worst Bobcats.

The Sixers did just that by rolling to a 101-90 victory over the Hawks. The Sixers’ record stands at 31-44 with seven games remaining in the regular season.

Turning point
The Sixers came out of the locker room strong in the third quarter. They quickly grew their 13-point halftime lead to 19 with 7:38 to go in the quarter.

Through three quarters, the Sixers led the playoff-bound Hawks by 18 points.

Follow the leader
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Spencer Hawes had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 19 points, while Al Horford scored 18.

Stat-egic
The Sixers scored 40 points in the first quarter on 16-of-22 shooting. The 40 points were their highest total of any quarter this season and their 73 percent shooting was also a season high.

They also had 10 assists in the quarter after having 16 for the entire game on Wednesday.

Take a bow
Thaddeus Young made his first six shots and finished with his 20th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Young finished the game 6 of 9 from the field.

Health check
Dorell Wright did not play because of a right elbow contusion that he suffered in the Sixers’ game last Saturday against the Bobcats. He has fluid in the elbow that is causing him pain.

Wright did play in Wednesday’s loss and was 5 of 9 from the floor for 14 points. He is a game-time decision for Saturday’s matchup in Miami.

What’s next?
The Sixers will face the Heat on Saturday night.

This game was circled on plenty of calendars a short while ago when the Heat were on their lengthy win streak and it appeared that the record-tying number of 33 straight could come against the Sixers.

Now, there is a good chance that the Sixers could face an entirely different version of the Heat as Miami continues to rest players for the postseason. LeBron James (strained right hamstring) and Dwyane Wade (sprained right ankle) have not played since March 29.

The Heat still have a 10-game lead on the Knicks for first place in the Eastern Conference. They also have four fewer losses than the Spurs and are in good position to have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Sixers-Magic 5 things: Hoping for a dry court with rested roster

Sixers-Magic 5 things: Hoping for a dry court with rested roster

The Sixers (4-14) will tip off against the Orlando Magic (7-12) at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night (7 p.m./CSN and CSNPhilly.com).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Floored
Let's try this again.

The Sixers will return to the Wells Fargo Center court for the first time since Wednesday's game against the Sacramento Kings was postponed because of moisture on the floor.

While the Sixers were frustrated that they couldn't face the Kings, the team was also happy that player safety was made the top priority in the postponement decision.

"It was disappointing not to play," head coach Brett Brown said after practice on Thursday. "It got to a stage the longer that it went and it was being prolonged and prolonged, I'm glad that ultimately we didn't play."

2. Rested and ready
The postponement of Wednesday's game means the Sixers haven't played since Monday's road loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Center Joel Embiid should be even more rested than his teammates since he didn't make the trip north of the border because it was the second game of a back-to-back set.

When Embiid does return to action Friday against the Magic, he will have a little more freedom. The NBA's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month had his minutes restriction raised from 24 to 28 earlier this week.

That should only mean good things for Embiid, who turned in a strong effort when the Sixers faced off against the Magic earlier this season. Embiid recorded 18 points and 10 boards for his first-ever double-double in a 103-101 loss to Orlando back on Nov. 1.

3. Protection plan
Perhaps Embiid's bump in minutes will help the Sixers better protect the paint this time around.

During the season's first meeting, in which the Sixers blew an 18-point lead, the Magic scored a massive 60 points in the paint. Former Sixer Nikola Vucevic and Serge Ibaka led the way with 45 combined points.

The Sixers can't allow that type of production inside, especially from a team that ranks 25th in the league with an average of 39.5 points in the paint per game.

4. Injuries
Jerryd Bayless (wrist), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Former Sixer Jodie Meeks (foot) is a game-time decision for the Magic.

5. This and that
- The Sixers have lost three straight to the Magic.

- Vucevic has averaged 20.3 points and 13.2 rebounds against the Sixers during his career.

- Dario Saric scored a career-high 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting in the season's first clash.

Nerlens Noel assigned to D-League again for practice

Nerlens Noel assigned to D-League again for practice

Nerlens Noel is going back to the D-League to continue his left knee rehab.

The Sixers assigned Noel to their Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, on Friday to practice with the team. Noel also practiced with the Sevens on Wednesday before his first practice with the Sixers on Thursday.

This season the Sixers have been utilizing their D-League affiliation as a resource during injury recoveries. Jerryd Bayless (wrist) practiced twice with the team ahead of his season debut.

Noel underwent elective arthroscopic knee surgery in October. On Thursday he participated in live work and scripting with the Sixers. After practice, he maintained his stance on the Sixers crowded frontcourt. 

“I don't think the roster's changed,” Noel said Thursday. “So, I don't think the roster's changed.”

The Sixers do not practice on Friday. They have a morning shootaround before their game against the Magic at 7p.m.