|5-4 with wins over the Heat, Bulls and Rockets. This team of leftovers, rejects and wannabes has now topped LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Kyrie Irving, to name a few. Tonight, they'll take a team also lacking a superstar, and a journeyman shooter is the guy who scares me the most.|
|The Hawks and the Celtics are in a nail-biter of a battle for playoff seeding. Neither wants to finish #6 (and have to face Indy and Miami in the first and second rounds, should they get that far). Finishing 7th would mean avoiding the Heat until the conference finals, again, should they advance that far. 1.5 games separate the teams, and falling to 8th is an impossibility. I'm sure Boston realizes this, I kind of doubt Atlanta does.|
Latest comment: from GoSixersReggie Evans is reportedly a great rebounder - would you like him starting for your NBA team?...
|It seems as though no matter what changes the Hawks make, no matter what injuries they suffer, they're consistently a step below the top of the Eastern Conference when the season comes to an end. The constant has been their front line of Josh Smith and Al Horford. Tonight, the Sixers will look to keep their laughable playoff hopes alive on the road in Atlanta against this maddeningly pretty good team.|
|For the Sixers, no matter how tough things get, they always have the Hawks. No matter how low, they can always bury Atlanta. Or at least that's the way things have gone over the past two seasons plus. Philly has dropped ATL six straight times, each one of those wins came immediately following a loss. We'll see if history can power the Sixers' through their nightly talent deficit.|
Latest comment: from TwoSenseTwo words that I say to myself often, that bring about thoughts of a hopeless romantic - Andrew Bynum....
|In what is sure to be a sideshow compared to the Bynum news we're expecting to hear today, Lou Williams is coming to town for the first time in a uniform other than the Sixers. The 15-8 Atlanta Hawks haven't missed a beat without Joe Johnson (or his $125M contract), but the Sixers have to be desperate to kill their five-game slide prior to leaving for their Ice Capades trip.|
|So that's what it would've looked like if the Sixers got Elton Brand in his prime. This game had all the makings of another disappointing loss. Slow start. Low energy. Terrible offense. Klutzy, soft, ineffective play from the five spot. The difference came in the fourth quarter when the Sixers remembered they had Elton Brand with a mismatch on the low blocks, and rode him for all he was worth right to the final buzzer of a close win over a winning team. (game capsule).|
|No Elton Brand, Iguodala and Jrue suffer through dreadful shooting nights, second night of a back-to-back against a well-rested, 16-7 Atlanta Hawks squad...no problem. The Sixers used their bench and the return of their starting center to systematically pick the Hawks apart on the road and cap a 3-1 week in style. (game capsule).|
|The defense was there all night. In the first half, the Hawks shot a completely unsustainable percentage on long twos. In the second half, they missed their jumpers, if they could even get a shot off, and the Sixers energy was too much for the Hawks (or anyone else) to handle. Big win to take over the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference. (game capsule)|
|Maybe the streak doesn't have to stop, but it would be nice. The Sixers have played elite basketball over the first 14 games. They've absolutely destroyed a series of bad teams. What they haven't done is win a close game and beat a good team at full strength. Until they do those two things, that little voice in the back of our heads is going to continue to ask, "Have they really improved?" Beating Atlanta tonight won't silence the voice, but it would turn the volume down a bit.|
|The last time the Sixers played Atlanta, they absolutely demolished the Hawks ... in Atlanta. Last night, the Chicago Bulls gave ATL the Washington Generals treatment to the tune of a 33-point loss. You'd think that might motivate the Hawks. You'd think that might light a fire under them. Of course, being motivated by embarrassment means you're assuming a team actually has a spine. I'm not sure that's the case with the Hawks.|
|Al Horford was a "Did Not Play" thanks to a brutal flagrant foul from Blake Griffin a couple nights ago. Joe Johnson was a "May As Well Not Have Played" thanks to Andre Iguodala's super-human defense. The Sixers used both of those facts to their advantage en route to an absolute thrashing of the Atlanta Hawks, on the road.|
Latest comment: from eddies' heady'sDid you realize that almost everything you wrote was going to come true later tonight? Dag.......