If the 16-15 76ers win Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center, they’ll earn a 3-0 regular-season series sweep over the 14-16 Atlanta Hawks and head into Christmas on a high note.
Here’s three storylines:
COVID remains big role
As is normal nowadays in sports and mainly society, COVID-19 will have a large impact on Thursday’s contest.
Danny Green was placed in health and safety protocols on Wednesday. He joined Andre Drummond, Shake Milton, and Georges Niang in the protocols. Ben Simmons (personal reasons) was the only other Sixer on the NBA’s injury report.
The Hawks’ Trae Young, Clint Capela, Lou Williams, Kevin Huerter, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Danilo Gallinari are all in health and safety protocols.
Despite a career-high 34 points from Cam Reddish and a 28-point, 12-rebound night by John Collins, Atlanta lost Wednesday to the Orlando Magic. The Hawks started Gorgui Dieng at center and opened with a Skylar Mays-Delon Wright backcourt.
Maxey and Korkmaz set to return
The non-COVID outages for the Sixers are set to return Thursday night.
Tyrese Maxey wasn’t on the injury report, indicating he’s set to return from a two-game absence with a left quad contusion. His availability decreases the odds of a Tyler Johnson debut.
Furkan Korkmaz, who missed three games with a non-COVID illness, is also healthy again. Korkmaz said Thursday morning he was in his bed for almost two days with the flu.
Slightly stronger bench
The Sixers should be less desperate for ball handling than they were during Monday night’s win over the Boston Celtics.
The Sixers’ reinforcements that were mentioned above could lead to a few more decisions for head coach Doc Rivers than against the Celtics, a game in which four starters played at least 40 minutes.
Isaiah Joe was the Sixers’ sixth man the past two games, totaling 51 minutes and scoring the team’s only second-unit point on Monday.