In convincing fashion, the Atlanta Hawks added another loss to the Sixers record, demolishing Philly 127-106 behind Paul Millsap’s 21 points and 17 off the bench from Dennis Schroder. The loss dropped the 76ers to 1-26 on the season and was their fourth consecutive game in which they trailed by 20 or more points. For the Hawks, Wednesday night’s matchup against the Sixers was more of a sigh of relief than a hard earned victory. Atlanta, who began the season 7-1, had lost their previous three games by double figures, including a 25-point smack down to the San Antonio Spurs.
First Round KO
Looking to redeem themselves, the Hawks entered the game looking to deliver an early knockout Wednesday night. The Sixers made it easy for them, missing five of their first six shots and turning the ball over three times as the Hawks took an 11-2 lead three minutes into the game. At the end of the 1st quarter, Philly trailed 32-23 behind an 0-7 shooting performance from downtown. Jahlil Okafor scored eight points in the quarter, but the Sixers looked lost defensively as Jeff Teague and Al Horford combined for 16 points on 7-11 (63.6%) FG in the opening period.
Making Things Interesting
In the 2nd, the Hawks continued to push the pace, outscoring the Sixers 17-7 to take a commanding 19 point lead (49-30) with 7:15 remaining in the half. Up by as many as 23, the Hawks would then take their foot off of the gas pedal, allowing the 76ers to cut into the lead entering halftime. Led by Isaiah Canaan, the Sixers ended the 2nd quarter on a 17-5 run, slashing the Hawks lead down to 11 at the end of the period. Canaan, who was coming off of a disappointing four point (1-5 FG) performance against the Chicago Bulls, was magnificent in the 2nd quarter, scoring 10 points, including consecutive three-point field goals, that helped the Sixers steal the momentum from the surging Hawks.
Coming out of the half, the Sixers looked to continue this hot streak. A Canaan three-pointer cut the lead to single digits, and a four-point play by Robert Convington brought Philly within seven (75-68) with 8:12 remaining in the 3rd.
Putting the Icing on the Cake
The Hawks would respond to the Sixers run rather quickly. Kyle Korver, who is only shooting 33 percent from downtown in December, drilled consecutive three-pointers, while power forward Paul Millsap scored 14 3rd-quarter points on 4-4 FGs as the Hawks outscored the Sixers 27-8 to take a 26-point lead (102-76) that iced the game for good. Philly would go on an 11-0 run in the 4th quarter to cut the deficit to 15, but it was too little too late as Atlanta would go on to score a season high 127 points on a phenomenal 61.5 percent from the field, 47.6 percent from three, and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.
The Canaan Ball
Despite the loss, Isaiah Canaan had his best game of the season, scoring a season high 24 points on a blistering 6-8 from three. Performances like this have been rare for Canaan, who had shot only 20 percent (5-25) from distance in the five previous games prior to last night. As a team, the Sixers were hot the entire night, converting on 12-26 (46.2%) of their three-pointers and shooting 52 percent (39-75) from the field. What killed Philadelphia were the turnovers. Sixers committed 22, while the Hawks had only 12.
Hawks Big Men
With Nerlens Noel out, the Sixers had absolutely no answer for Atlanta’s frontcourt. Paul Millsap scored 21, Al Horford had 17 and Tiago Splitter added 10 off the bench as the trio combined to shoot 19-26 (73.1%) from the field. Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes struggled against the versatility of Atlanta’s big’s, especially with Millsap and Horford, both of whom have the ability to stretch out to the three-point line.
• Kendall Marshall made his first start of the season tallying seven points and four assists.
• Nerlens Noel missed his second consecutive game with a left eye corneal abrasion.
• Richaun Holmes had the play of the game, throwing down a monstrous one handed dunk over Al Horford in the 1st quarter. Holmes finished the game with 12 points and seven rebounds.
• Paul Millsap, who is averaging 9.0 rpg, was held without a rebound for the entire game.
• Hawks scored a season high 127 points. Their 66 points in the 1st half was also a season best.
• The Sixers will travel back home to take on Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks Friday night at 7:00 PM.
(1-26, 0-16 away)
(15-12, 9-6 home)
8:00 PM ET, December 16, 2015
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Phi: I. Canaan 24 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 Stl
Atl: J. Teague 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk