NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said the league has no plans to hit the pause button despite several teams dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. The Philadelphia 76ers will be without three of their best players at a minimum Monday in Atlanta in All-Star Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry – the latter two due to COVID protocols. Superstar center Joel Embiid is expected to play through some back tightness. The Hawks will be without sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic for a lot longer than just Monday. Atlanta is a 6.5-point favorite on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds.
The short-handed Sixers enter having lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. All four Philadelphia guys listed above missed Saturday's 115-103 defeat in Denver as Philadelphia had just seven available players. Games are supposed to be postponed when teams don't have at least eight players; Philly had Mike Scott as active as said eighth player even though he was dealing with a knee injury and not able to play.
Scott has been upgraded to probable for Monday. So has Embiid, who traveled with the team to Atlanta. Simmons is dealing with some knee swelling and didn't make the trip. Also listed as out for the Sixers either due to injury or COVID: Terrance Ferguson, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, Vincent Poirier and Matisse Thybulle. The team's game notes lists Dakota Mathias, Isaiah Joe and Tyrese Maxey as starters along with Embiid and Danny Green.
Atlanta has lost Bogdanovic, a big-ticket free agent addition this offseason, for several weeks after he was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise and avulsion fracture. He went down awkwardly in a loss to Charlotte on Friday, the fourth straight loss for the Hawks. Bogdanovic was averaging 9.9 points per game while shooting 36.2 percent from 3-point range.
The Hawks are also without forward Danilo Gallinari (right ankle sprain), point guard Rajon Rondo (right knee injury maintenance), guard Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery) and top draft pick Onyeka Okongwu (left foot inflammation).
This is the only scheduled meeting of the first half of the schedule between the 76ers and Hawks. Philly won two of three last season. Embiid dominated, averaging 35.3 points on 64.9 percent shooting along with 12.e rebounds. Trae Young averaged 30.7 points and 12.3 assists for Atlanta, which has covered the spread five straight at home in the series.
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