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Preview: Hawks host Sixers in challenging match-up

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: Al Horford will miss Thursday’s game for Philadelphia. Bruno Fernando and DeAndre’ Bembry are out for Atlanta.

The Atlanta Hawks struggled in a blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, missing open shots and generally failing to make life difficult for the opposition. With that said, the Hawks have played better in recent days, posting a 4-4 record in the last eight games, and Lloyd Pierce’s team returns home for an intriguing match-up against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday evening.

Thursday’s tilt marks the second of four games against the Sixers this season, with Atlanta losing by a two-point margin at home in the first meeting on Oct. 28. Much has changed on both sides since then, however, and Philadelphia has won six of their last seven games as they arrive in Atlanta.

From an injury standpoint, both teams are dealing with short-handed rosters. Alex Len (right hip flexor strain) joins Jabari Parker and Chandler Parsons in missing the game for the Hawks, with both DeAndre’ Bembry (right hand neuritis) and Bruno Fernando (left calf strain) officially listed as doubtful. With that same configuration on Tuesday, the Hawks used a nine-man rotation during the competitive portion of the game, with John Collins essentially operating as a center and Damian Jones thrust into substantial service as the primary backup.

Against a team that features Joel Embiid, Atlanta’s lack of frontcourt depth could be costly, though the Sixers are also battling injuries. Starting wing Josh Richardson has already been ruled out, and a pair of former Hawks — Al Horford and Mike Scott — are listed as questionable to appear. Still, Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris are in line to play, giving the visitors an overall talent advantage in this spot.

The Hawks are currently listed as 7.5-point home underdogs in this game, though that number could shift based on player availability and other factors. Atlanta could certainly be competitive in this game but, in short, the home team will need to play well in order to threaten the Sixers.

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: Thursday, Jan. 30, 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