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Preview: Hawks host Sixers in search of third straight win

An interesting test for the home team.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Update No. 2 — Joel Embiid will play.

UPDATE: Joel Embiid remains questionable after participating in Philadelphia’s shootaround this morning. As a result, the Atlanta Hawks are now 4-point underdogs against the 76ers.

Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks put on quite a show on Saturday evening, outlasting the Orlando Magic to improve to 2-0 on the season. With that as the backdrop, the Hawks had the day off on Sunday but, as a new week begins, Atlanta will face an intriguing test against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday evening.

The Hawks have the benefit of home-court advantage in this match-up but, in the same breath, Philadelphia enters with sizable expectations as a projected top two team in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are off to a 2-0 start of their own but, at the time of this post, there is some uncertainty as to the status of All-NBA center Joel Embiid, who is listed as questionable with a right ankle sprain and sutures for a lip laceration.

It should be noted that Philadelphia remains a small favorite (at the small handful of outlets that released the points spread before Embiid news) in this game, even with Embiid’s questionable status, and that speaks to the talented roster that Brett Brown has at his disposal. The Sixers will deploy a quartet of Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson and, even if Embiid is the team’s best player, there is more than enough to challenge the Hawks either way.

On Atlanta’s side, there are a couple of new injuries to monitor, with both arriving at the center position. In addition to Allen Crabbe and Chandler Parsons remaining on the shelf, Alex Len (right side rib contusion) is probable for Monday’s game and Bruno Fernando (right ankle sprain) is questionable. Fernando exited from Saturday’s game and was replaced by Damian Jones but, from a present-day perspective, Len’s status is perhaps the most interesting. The Sixers are a different team without Embiid but, if he plays, Atlanta will need all of its available frontcourt resources against the dynamic big man.

The Hawks face a back-to-back (with travel) on Tuesday, placing even more emphasis on Monday’s festivities. While the handicapping expectation is not a win for Atlanta, the team has displayed its tangible upside to this point in the season and, in short, the Hawks can hang with anyone if Young continues to play at an elite level.

Stay tuned throughout the day and be encouraged to utilize the comments below as a “game thread” for the action.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, Oct. 28, 7:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass