The Atlanta Hawks had serious trouble with shot-making during their recent three-game losing streak. That problem did not exist on Wednesday night. The Hawks blistered the Philadelphia 76ers with hot shooting, and that strong offensive effort was enough to buoy the team to a 127-106 victory.
Atlanta raced to an 11-2 start to begin the night, and it was in sharp contrast to recent games because of the quick pace. The Hawks tallied 32 points in the first quarter, marking the second-highest scoring opener of the season, and there was a discernible change from Jeff Teague, who scored eight points while engineering a fast-paced offense.
The home team then put together a 13-2 run during the second quarter to claim a 19-point lead, and Atlanta would lead by as many as 23 points before halftime. There was, however, a hiccup to close the half, as the Sixers roared back with a 15-3 spurt of their own, slashing the advantage to just 11 points at 66-55 after shooting an insane 71% from the floor in the period.
Despite that uninspiring finish, it was one of the better overall halves of the season for the Hawks, including a record-setting showing on the offensive end. Atlanta's 66 points marked a season-high for a half, and the Hawks also shot a white-hot 63% from the field, including a 16-point showing from the previously slumping Teague.
Philly did have one run coming, though, and it arrived in the third quarter. A 4-point play from Robert Covington cut the margin to seven points with 8:12 left in the period, and for a brief moment, it seemed as if the Sixers may be competitive. That notion evaporated in short order, however, as the Hawks quickly raced to a 13-2 run of their own to extend the lead back to 21. In total, Atlanta finished the third quarter on a 27-8 run, and with that, the Hawks led by an insurmountable 26-point margin as the closing period began.
At that point, it was academic, and the Hawks used the final period to get some playing time for guys like Justin Holiday and Shelvin Mack. Philadelphia never seriously threatened again (though they did cut the lead to 15 with 3:44 left), and it was a welcome change from the recent past to see the Hawks run and away and hide from an inferior opponent.
On a night when everything went right to the tune of a 62% clip from the field and a 48% mark from three-point range, it wasn't difficult to find standouts. Jeff Teague had his best game in a long while, finishing with 18 points (on 6-9 FG) and four assists in 23 minutes, while Paul Millsap needed only eight shot attempts to score 21 points. Dennis Schröder also continued his strong recent play with 7 assists and 17 points in 23 minutes, and even Tiago Splitter reached double figures with 10 points on a night when the team set a new season-high for scoring.
The Hawks will face a much larger challenge on Friday evening, as they travel to Boston to take on the Celtics, but Atlanta had the opportunity to "get right" against Philadelphia and they did just that.