76ers-Hawks Preview

For the first three years of his NBA career, James Anderson
mostly came off the bench and provided some scoring. Now he’s
trying to build off the best game of his career as he continues
navigating being a full-time starter.

Anderson and the 76ers seek a second straight win Friday night
as they play the Atlanta Hawks.

With a career scoring average of 4.2 points, the 20th overall
pick in 2010 had reached double figures in scoring just 10 times in
125 games and twice in Philadelphia’s first eight contests this
season. The shooting guard, though, had a breakout performance in a
123-117 overtime victory Wednesday night against the Houston
Rockets, making 12 of 16 shots to finish with a career-high 36
points – nearly double his previous high of 19 set against Golden
State on April 26, 2012, while with San Antonio.

”I got in a rhythm early and guys did a good job finding me,”
said Anderson, who made 6-of-8 three-pointers as his scoring
average jumped to 10.1 points. ”I finally got an opportunity and
it’s great timing.”

The 76ers (5-4) played without rookie Michael Carter-Williams,
who missed the game because of a bruised left arch. In his place,
Anderson carried more of the offense and Tony Wroten had a
memorable game of his own, becoming the first player in NBA history
to record a triple-double in his first start with 18 points, 11
rebounds and 10 assists.

“I have never got a triple-double in my life. Middle school,
high school, college – never,” Wroten said. “So it’s just
crazy.”

Still, Carter-Williams’ absence leaves many glaring holes for
Philadelphia. The 11th overall pick leads the 76ers in assists
(7.6) and steals (2.6) and is second in scoring at 17.4 points per
game. He also leads all rookies in minutes played at 36.6 per
game.

The 76ers will once again rely on small forward Evan Turner, who
has scored 20 or more points in eight of the team’s nine games.

Even if Anderson and Wroten can again replace his scoring
production, Carter-Williams will be missed on the defensive end,
where 76ers will have to contain Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.
Averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 assists – both career highs – Teague
has been the catalyst for a revamped Atlanta attack this
season.

The Hawks are scoring 103.0 points per game – five more than
their 2012-13 average – thanks in large part to Teague, who has
more control of the offense this season under first-year coach Mike
Budenholzer. Still, Atlanta has been sloppy at times, and its 15
turnovers led to 23 points for New York in a 95-91 loss Wednesday
night.

”We made mistakes,” said Teague, who had 25 points and eight
assists but also four turnovers. ”We’re still a new group and
we’re still trying to figure one another out. We’re getting better
every game.”

Al Horford, who added 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting, averaged
15.5 points and 9.6 rebounds in four games versus Philadelphia last
season.

”I feel good about our team,” Horford said. ”We just need to
learn how to hold the leads and finish out these games. We’ve let
some of these slip away, so we need to be better in that
regard.”

The teams split four games last season, but Philadelphia has won
seven of the last nine meetings.