(Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
The Philadelphia 76ers will look to halt a two-game skid when they battle the host Atlanta Hawks in the NBA in-season tournament on Friday.
Following an eight-game winning streak, the Sixers fell twice at home: to the Indiana Pacers in the in-season tournament and then 107-97 to the short-handedBoston Celtics on Wednesday without Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis.
The Sixers are 1-1 in the in-season tournament heading into Atlanta. Both teams are part of East Group A.
Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 20 points each while Robert Covington, De'Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris added 16 apiece against the Celtics.
What went wrong with two losses in two nights?
"You know it's what we signed up for. You know what I mean?" Maxey said. "Playing 82 games, it's the NBA, National Basketball Association for a reason. We're going to play tough teams back-to-back like that. Indiana is really good at what they do, create the pace, and you know they make it difficult on you to get back in transition. Even off of makes or misses. And then Boston, you know, is Boston, you know what they capable of though."
The Sixers looked a bit weary on the second leg of a back-to-back but they did receive surprising contributions from deep reserves Paul Reed (10 points) and Jaden Springer (nine points).
With an extra day off, the Sixers hope to be rested and ready.
"I think that we were just giving up a little bit too much easy offense and dug ourselves a hole," Sixers coach Nick Nurse said. "But you know at least we hung in there, got some guys came in and gave us a spark and fought back in even late."
The Hawks will look to rebound after a narrow 116-114 home loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Atlanta has won its lone in-season tournament game and can stay undefeated with a victory against the Sixers.
When the Hawks have been successful this season, they've been aggressive on the boards and their defense has been in sync.
That wasn't the case against the Knicks, according to head coach Quin Snyder.
"I just think we have to begin the game with a defensive mindset," he said. "When we did get stops, the offensive glass was the thing that hurt us early. We had a few buckets in transition where they ran off some turnovers, but the glass is what the game is. We need to rebound with five guys and fight for the boards."
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Hawks with 28 points off the bench. Jalen Johnson hit all four 3-pointers and scored 18 and reserve Saddiq Bey had 16.
Johnson's shooting had to be encouraging.
"My teammates were finding me in the right spots," Johnson said. "And I'm shooting my shots with confidence."
Trae Young returned to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday's game on the road against the Detroit Pistons. Young and his wife announced the birth of their second child.
Young finished with 15 points and 17 assists.
"Feeling good," Young said. "Would've been feeling a lot better if we won, but feel great. Feel blessed. Our baby is healthy. I'm about to go back to the hospital. Everybody is healthy and good."
--Field Level Media