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News » Hawks-76ers Preview


Hawks-76ers Preview


Hawks-76ers Preview
Andre Iguodala and the Philadelphia 76ers have already clinched their playoff spot. Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks are trying to join them.

The 76ers and Hawks complete their home-and-home set Saturday, one day after Iguodala and Johnson engaged in a terrific scoring duel.

Iguodala scored 30 points to lead Philadelphia (39-37) to a 109-104 win at Atlanta (35-41) on Friday. The 76ers are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004-05 - Iguodala's rookie season.

"We just need to act like we've been there before," Iguodala said. "We've all played in pressure situations, now it's just going to be at a higher level. We are talented enough and have a lot of young guys who come out and play hard."

Philadelphia has won 21 of its last 28 games since its last visit to Atlanta, a 96-91 loss on Feb. 4.

"The last time we were in this building, we were 18-30." 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "To be where we are now is an incredible accomplishment."

It could have been a different story Friday for Atlanta had Johnson not slipped on a damp spot and lost the ball with 1:36 left during a key possession. Johnson had a game-high 32 points, but the Hawks had their five-game winning streak snapped.

"We have to come out focused and not let them hit us first like they did tonight," Johnson said. "We have to come out and be the aggressor, go up to Philly and get one."

Atlanta, which hasn't made the playoffs since 1999, holds a three-game lead over Indiana for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with six games left. Saturday's game starts a three-game road trip for the Hawks, who also visit the Pacers on Tuesday.

Philadelphia also has plenty to play for since it is tied with Washington for the No. 5 spot in the East. Seventh-place Toronto is just one game behind both clubs.

Iguodala has been outstanding the last 28 games for the Sixers. He is averaging 21.1 points and 5.1 assists in that span, and has had two straight games with 10 assists.

Iguodala also bounced back from two poor performances in two losses to Atlanta earlier this season in which he averaged 16.5 points on just 36.4 percent (12-of-33) shooting.

Philadelphia also got a boost with rookie Thaddeus Young inserted in the lineup for Reggie Evans. Young made 6-of-7 shots for 12 points and is averaging 10.6 on just under 59 percent shooting in his last 28 games during the Sixers' surge.

All five starters reached double figures for Philadelphia on Friday, as Andre Miller had 23 points and Willie Green and Samuel Dalembert each added 15.

Josh Childress scored 20 points off the bench and Marvin Williams added 19 for Atlanta, which also had a six-game home winning streak snapped.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 5, 2008

 

 
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