The Atlanta Hawks will try to win again without Joe Johnson when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at Philips Arena (7:30 PM, SportSouth, 97.9 FM). Atlanta lost its top scorer and perennial All-Star earlier in the week, when the pain in Johnson's right elbow became unbearable.
He paid a visit to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. and was diagnosed with loose bodies in the elbow. Johnson underwent surgery on Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks. While the pain may explain why Johnson was having an off-year, the Hawks must move on without their max-contract superstar. A combination of Maurice Evans and Jamal Crawford must fill the big shoes of Johnson.
Thus far, Atlanta (12-7) has been A-OK. The Hawks extended their winning streak to four with a 112-109 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. Al Horford lead the Hawks with 20 points in the win, which featured six Hawks in double figures. Josh Powell and Crawford had 16 points each off the bench for Atlanta, which dished a season-high 33 asissts.
Philadelphia (5-13) will come to Atlanta looking for a bit of revenge. The Hawks took the first matchup between the two clubs with a 104-101 win in the City of Brotherly love on Oct. 29. Horford had 20 points and 12 boards in that one, while Crawford chipped in 19.
The Sixers are riding a two-game winning streak where they have not allowed more than 86 points in a game against either the Portland Trailblazers or the New Jersey Nets. The Hawks on the other hand have been clicking on all cylinders, posting nearly 106 points per game during their recent winning streak.
Philadelphia, which is just 1-9 on the road this season, will look to Elton Brand to lead the way. Brand, who had a team-high points in Philly's 88-79 win over Portland on Tuesday, posted 20 points and eight boards the last time these two teams met.