However the guests from Philly were without rookie PG Michael Carter-Williams and the Hawks were getting back swingman Lou Williams, his first game back in about 10 months.
But it was Jeff Teague, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll who made the difference for the Hawks, with dribble penetration, post scoring and three-point efficiency that ultimately let the Hawks take control of the game and win by 10, 113-103.
But enough small talk, let's bulletize!
Number Zero had it going on, and on, and on and on and on, he had it going on.
With Tony Wroten and Darius Morris trying to keep up, Jeff Teague took his new found consistent aggressiveness and blasted the Sixers with it, getting into the lane at will, breaking the Philly defense left and right until the very end.
And in the end, there stood Teague, sporting a career-high 33 points on 16 shots, baffling the Sixers to the point where they fouled him continuously, getting 12 of his points from the free throw line.
When Teague wasn't scoring on Philly, he was enabling others to score, dispensing 10 assists as well.
Whenever Coach Bud needed, needed, someone to stop the Sixers run, it was Teague who calmed things down by breaking them down.
I don't know what Coach Bud has put into Teague's pre-game meals, but the step up has been gigantic thus far this year.
There was little drama as Kahlllll knocked down three 3-pointers in the game, taking the streak to 82 games in a row with a long ball.
DeMarre Carroll got some, too
One of the beneficiaries of Teague's generosity was Carroll, who made Philadelphia pay time and time again for leaving him open, hitting a total of five 3-pointers in the game after hitting only seven of his first 28 attempts of the season.
His 21 points, including a honey of a buzzer-beating three to end the first half, was also a career-high, making an early Christmas sack of goodies that the Sixers provided to Teague and Carroll.
It's like he never left.
It was fitting that Lou's first hoop was doing almost the very same thing that he did when he tore the ACL that cost him almost 10 months. The driving on the right side layup off the glass was eerily similar to the approach taken in January when Lou went down in a heap.
Bud wanted to play him about 16 minutes he said before the game, according to reports, and after the final buzzer sounded, the stat sheet reads: 16:01 played. Planning, America!
Lou went three of eight from the floor, hit a three, grabbed three rebounds and dished two assists in those 16 minutes played and didn't look like he'd lost any of the quicks he had before the injury. Whew.
The Hawks had 25 assists, but were often careless with the rock, including some incredibly nonchalant passes that ended up in the backcourt or in the waiting arms of Sixers defenders. Dennis Schröder struggled again in this category, turning the ball over three times in just 12 minutes of playing time.
The Millsap Experiment
If you didn't know, Gustavo Ayon started the game instead of Paul Millsap, for reasons listed in this piece regarding Bud's decision for the move.
The starting five with Horford at power forward played 14 minutes together. The lineup featuring Millsap instead of Ayon played 11 minutes tonight. At first glance, it looks like the Ayon unit played better, outscoring the Sixers by 17 compared to only two for the other unit. Both units scored well, but the Millsap unit turned it over more (6-3) but shot better (64 to 50 percent).
What does it all mean? Who knows, but Bud does come from a culture that didn't start Manu Ginobili on a regular basis.
Oh, and Al Horford
20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks on 8-15 shooting. He's just a little bit Boss.
More from Peachtree Hoops:
- Lou Williams returns to the court 10 months after ACL injury
- Sixers vs Hawks: Mike Budenholzer discusses lineup change
- Sixers vs Hawks final score: Jeff Teague leads Atlanta to 113-103 win over Philadelphia
- Kyle Korver extends streak to 82 against Sixers
- Sixers vs Hawks: Gustavo Ayon moves into starting lineup