Sixers-Hawks: 5 things you need to know

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Sixers-Hawks: 5 things you need to know

Fresh off the dramatic victory over the Celtics on Evan Turner’s floater at the buzzer, the Sixers host the hot-shooting and well-rested Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

Here are a few things to look for in the Sixers-Hawks matchup:

1. Rest for the weary
After playing three games in four days with trips to Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, the Hawks got an unexpected night off on Wednesday when a couple inches of snow and ice shut down Atlanta and postponed a game with the Pistons.

As a result, the Hawks haven’t played since Monday, which is a nice respite for a team that features four players 30 or older and has a few injuries.

Meanwhile, the Sixers are 5-9 in games following a victory this season and have won two in a row just twice this season. The Sixers haven’t won back-to-back games since Jan. 4 when they followed up a victory over Sacramento with one in Portland.

2. First-timers club
The Hawks come to town a day after power forward Paul Millsap was named to his first All-Star team. In his eighth season and first in Atlanta after spending the previous seven years in Utah, Millsap leads the Hawks in scoring (18.6 per game) and rebounding (8.4).

For those into the advanced statistics, Millsap has a 20.3 PER (a measure of a player's per-minute production), which is the 10th best among active players in the Eastern Conference.

At 6-foot-8, Millsap is a bruiser in the frontcourt and has 16 double-doubles this season.

3. Hey, remember us?
There are several ex-Sixers on the Hawks' roster. Among them, sharpshooter Kyle Korver has been the most notable this season by setting the still-growing record for most consecutive games with a three-pointer.

Korver has hit a three-pointer in every game he has appeared in since opening night of the 2012-13 season, a streak of 113 games. Korver is shooting an incredible 45.8 percent (296 for 646) from beyond the arc during the streak.

Lou Williams returned from an ACL injury ahead of schedule and has appeared in 31 games for the Hawks this season, averaging 9.6 points in 23.5 minute per game. Williams will be making his second appearance in Philadelphia with the Hawks after seven seasons with the Sixers.

Elton Brand is playing with his second team since the Sixers used the amnesty clause on him after the 2011-12 season. Following a season in Dallas, Brand, 34, is happily playing a reduced role off the bench for the Hawks.

Though he plays a little under 15 minutes a night, Brand is still a defensive presence. In limited playing time, Brand has 10 games in which he has blocked at least two shots and six games in which he swatted away three shots.

The Hawks also have guard Shelvin Mack, who appeared in four games with the Sixers while on a 10-day contract last season. For the Hawks, Mack averages 7.7 points and nearly 20 minutes per game.

4. Tricks of the trade
Sixers first-year coach Brett Brown will go against old friend, Mike Budenholzer, of the Hawks. Brown and Budenholzer were members of Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff in San Antonio for the past two decades and are breaking in as head coaches in the same season.

In other words, everything Brown knows about coaching, Budenholzer knows, too. And vice versa.

5. Injuries and miscellany
Arnett Moultrie (ankle) is still working himself into game shape. Last week, Brown said Moultrie’s ankle is fully recovered, but he’s not quite game ready.

Nerlens Noel (knee), Jason Richardson (knee) and Brandon Davies (finger) are out.

For the Hawks, Pero Antic (ankle), Al Horford (pectoral surgery) and John Jenkins (leg) are out. Flashy guard Jeff Teague is a game-time decision after spraining his ankle in San Antonio last week.

• Thad Young is averaging 3.2 steals per game over the last 10.

• Atlanta’s second-year forward Mike Scott is shooting 53.3 percent and averaging more than 13 points over his last 10 games.

• Korver has missed just three foul shots this season. He has hit his last 23 and hasn’t missed from the free-throw line since Dec. 10.

• Sixers starting shooting guard James Anderson is shooting 53.3 percent from the field in his last 10 games, but just 23.1 percent from three-point range.

Best of NBA: Magic overcome Wall's 52 points to beat Wizards

Best of NBA: Magic overcome Wall's 52 points to beat Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Elfrid Payton scored 22 of his season-high 25 points in the first half and the Orlando Magic overcame John Wall's 52-point performance to beat the Washington Wizards, 124-116 on Tuesday night.

Wall had the highest-scoring game of his career and kept Washington in it with 33 points in the second half as the Wizards cut the lead below 10 in the fourth quarter. The guard made 18 of 31 from the field and added eight assists.

Payton went 8 for 8 from the field and 3 for 3 from the line off the bench in that first half, nearly matching his previous season best of 23 points in the first two quarters alone. Payton finished 9 for 12 and handed out nine assists.

Orlando won its third straight game and its 124 points were a season high (see full recap).

Spurs trounce Timberwolves to reach 13-0 on the road
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and the San Antonio Spurs improved to 13-0 on the road this season with a 105-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Leonard hit 11 of 15 shots after not scoring at all in the first quarter and Patty Mills scored 15 points off the bench for the Spurs (18-4), who played without Tony Parker after he bruised his left knee against Milwaukee on Wednesday night. San Antonio overcame a slow start to shoot 52.7 percent.

The Spurs moved past the 1969-70 New York Knicks to take sole possession of the second-best road start to begin a season in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors started 14-0 last year.

Zach LaVine scored 25 points for the Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns had 11 points and 14 rebounds, but shot just 3 of 16 (see full recap).

Anthony, Knicks blow past depleted Heat
MIAMI -- Carmelo Anthony matched a season high with 35 points, and the New York Knicks beat the injury-ravaged Miami Heat 114-103 on Tuesday night.

Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 12 rebounds for New York, which is three games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2012-13 season. The Knicks lost Derrick Rose to back spasms in the third quarter.

Goran Dragic scored 29 points and Hassan Whiteside finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who fell to 2-8 at home.

The teams were tied at 68 late in the third quarter, when the Knicks went on a 27-13 run over the next eight minutes to take control. Anthony finished 13 for 27 from the field, and Porzingis and Joakim Noah combined for 22 rebounds (see full recap).

Sixers' gutsy effort not enough in tight loss to Grizzlies

Sixers' gutsy effort not enough in tight loss to Grizzlies

BOX SCORE

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The ice bucket where his feet were chilling, the ice bags on both knees, the tired, almost resigned look on his face — and the very full stat line — were proof positive that Ersan Ilyasova gave it everything he had, and then some, Tuesday night for the Sixers.

Yet in the end — again — it was not enough to keep Memphis' All-Star bigs, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, from pummeling their way to a ninth straight win over the Sixers, 96-91, before 13,521 at FedEx Forum (see Instant Replay).

Both teams were in the second game of back-to-backs. Both benches were severely depleted by injuries and illness. Randolph had not played since a double-overtime win in Philadelphia Nov. 23, just hours before his mother suddenly died. Star point guard Mike Conley is out with two fractured vertebra, leaving the point to a pair of rookies.

On the Sixers’ side, rookie star Joel Embiid was tethered to the bench for mandatory rest in the second game of a back-to-back. Jahlil Okafor (illness), Nerlens Noel (knee), Jerryd Bayless (wrist) and, of course, Ben Simmons (foot) were all out.

The Sixers had lost seven straight since that first meeting with the Grizzlies this season at the Wells Fargo Center.

Ilyasova did his part that night with season highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Thin up front on Tuesday, Brown relied on Ilyasova’s tenacity inside along with the ability of the veteran and Dario Saric to hit the three and drive to the hoop. Ilyasova, a pending free agent from Turkey, stepped up again with 23 points, including four threes, 17 boards, four assists and two blocks.

“That’s the only way we’re going to win,” Ilyasova said. “Come out with more energy and give it 110 percent. That, and play smart.”

Sixers head coach Brett Brown said, “There is a toughness to him. He’s an acquired assassin. He goes about his business. He does it without emotion.”

Saric added 17 points, including the trey that helped give the Sixers a 77-76 lead after three quarters and the bucket that put them up, 91-89, with less than two minutes to play.

Gasol, coming off a triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds and as many assists in a double-OT win at New Orlenas Monday, had 26 points and 12 boards. Randolph struggled until the fourth quarter. He parked down low for eight of his 12 points in the frame. Randolph also finished with 14 rebounds and had a loving crowd wanting to give him a giant bear hug.

“He rebounds in his sleep,” Brown said of Z-Bo. “Any 50-50 balls that are close to the rim … he’s done that his whole life. … Zach and Marc are obviously NBA veterans very capable of closing out games.”

The Sixers, who stayed in the game by hitting 14 of 41 three-point tries, had two of their 16 turnovers in the final 1:06. They also hit just 13 of 26 free throws, were outrebounded, 53-45, and outscored in the paint, 52-34.

“We’ve got to play smarter and take care of little things like free throws and the glass,” Ilyasova said.

Still, Randolph left the door open. With the Grizzlies up 94-91, he missed two free throws with nine seconds left. The Sixers set up Nik Stauskas (12 points) for a left-wing three. But he missed the shot and was 1 of 8 from distance on the night.

“I got a really good look, it just didn’t fall,” Stauskas said. “That’s been the theme the last two years. We fight, we fight and things just don’t go our way. We make a few mistakes and teams capitalize.”

The Grizzlies came through again in “clutch time” and are now 11-0 in games decided by five points or less or that reached overtime. 

The Sixers are 4-18 for the season and losers of eight straight going into Thursday’s game at New Orleans.

Brown said he told his team after the loss that the group “showed tremendous character. Fourth game in five nights. We came down with nine guys, are playing a tough, playoff, hard Memphis team. We had a chance to win the game and I was proud of their effort.”

Still, Stauskas said effort without results “gets old. It really gets old.”