Sixers-Hawks: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Hawks: 5 things you need to know
November 15, 2013, 3:00 pm
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The Sixers (5-4) travel to Atlanta to open a three-game road trip against the Hawks (4-4) on Friday night.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at Philips Arena.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. The other guys
The Sixers are coming off a thrilling 123-117 OT victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in which they received stellar production from their backcourt.

James Anderson scored a career-high 36 points against his former team, including a game-tying three with 6.6 seconds left in regulation to send the battle to overtime. Meanwhile, Tony Wroten filled in for a hobbled Michael-Carter Williams at point guard and became the first NBA player to record a triple-double in his starting debut with 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

Anderson’s monster game pushed his scoring average from 6.8 points per game to 10.1. That gives the Sixers six players averaging double-digit points.

2. Keeping tabs on Teague
The Sixers aren’t the only team in this matchup getting solid guard play. Hawks point guard Jeff Teague is off to the best start of his career.

Teague scored a season-high 25 points in the Hawks’ last game, a 95-91 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday. He is averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 assists per game, both career highs.

Teague is also spearheading an Atlanta attack that is the league’s ninth-highest scoring team at 103 points a night.

3. Protect the paint
Play on the low block will go a long way toward determining the outcome of this one.

The Hawks boast a solid one-two punch in the paint with center Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Horford leads the Hawks in points per game (19.4) and rebounds (9.1). Millsap is also playing solid in his first season in Atlanta, averaging 17.0 points and 7.5 boards a night.

The pair of big men are a main reason why the Hawks are tops in the league in points in the paint differential at plus-13.5 a contest.

The Sixers have a solid combo on their own front line. Spencer Hawes is averaging a double-double with 16 points and 10.6 rebounds to go with Thaddeus Young’s 14.7 points and 6.1 boards.

4. The gang’s all here
The Hawks could start going by the nickname Sixers South.

Atlanta boasts several former Sixers, including sharpshooter Kyle Korver. Korver, who played for the Sixers for parts of five seasons from 2003-08, re-signed with the Hawks during the offseason. He is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career so far in the Hawks’ new up-tempo attack, averaging 13.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game on 54.9 percent shooting.

Elton Brand joined the Hawks this past offseason and is providing his usual grit in 11.0 minutes a night off the bench. Meanwhile, Lou Williams is still recovering from an ACL tear he suffered last year with the Hawks after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Sixers.

Even guard Shelvin Mack, who played in four games for the Sixers last season, has worked his way onto the Hawks’ roster.

5. This and that
• Carter-Williams (foot) and Daniel Orton (knee) are day to day for the Sixers. Nerlens Noel (knee), Kwame Brown (hamstring), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out.

Williams (knee) has officially been upgraded to day to day by the Hawks in preparation of returning from his ACL tear.

• The Sixers have won seven of the last nine games against the Hawks.

• The Sixers’ fast pace has them averaging a league-high 88.8 field goal attempts per game.

• The Hawks commit the third-least turnovers per game in the NBA at 13.6 a game.