The Atlanta Hawks rested players on Saturday and it finally cost them a game in a 92-84 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Only the Sixers know if they used the absences of Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll as motivation, but they made just enough plays down the stretch to pull out a victory over a cold shooting Hawks team.
"A lot of our guys got to learn and grow," Mike Budenholzer said. "It wasn't our best night, but sometimes you learn from those as much as your good nights."
Atlanta went just 11-40 from the field in the second half and turned the ball over 19 times for the game. Philadelphia didn't play great but made enough three-pointers to stay within striking distance and ultimately pull ahead.
John Jenkins, Kent Bazemore and Mike Muscala were given an opportunity to start and play expanded minutes on Saturday. Jenkins finished with eight points and four rebounds in 23 minutes and was 3-7 from the field. He knocked down a pair of three-pointers but had an ugly stretch in the third quarter where he shot back-to-back air balls and turned the ball over twice as the Sixers were making their run.
Muscala played just over 17 minutes and finished with two points and seven rebounds. Bazemore played a team-high 36 minutes and finished with nine points and nine rebounds but went just 2-8 from the field.
"It's learning," said Al Horford. "Bench guys got to play. Playing time is important. You obviously want to win every game, but we'll regroup and get ready for Monday."
The Hawks return to Philips Arena on Monday for a match up against the Sacramento Kings. They will then head west for a six-game road trip beginning Wednesday in Denver. The trip starts out against several sub .500 teams but ends with stops at Golden State and at Oklahoma City.
At this juncture about the only thing on the line for Atlanta is positioning. The dog days of the schedule are here and as Coach Bud said on Friday, the team is trying to push through some uneven play and get back to performing at a high level.