Tim Hardaway, Jr. hit a three-pointer two minutes and fifteen seconds into the game to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead and Atlanta never looked back, leading the rest of the way to a 99-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Dwight Howard led the way for the Hawks with 22 points and 20 rebounds, including 8 offensive rebounds, against a Philadelphia team missing both Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor at the center position. The Sixers made it a game in the fourth quarter but never got closer than two points as the Hawks held on for the win.
Kent Bazemore made his return after missing the previous five games with a bruised right knee, picking up right where he left off. Bazemore finished 6-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from three for 19 points in 20 minutes, working quickly on a minutes restriction in his first game back from injury. Bazemore did not close the game—his spot in the crunch-time five went to rookie Taurean Prince, who continues to develop his off-the-bounce game in his rookie season.
The Hawks jumped out to an early lead behind Howard’s energy on the glass and surprising touch from midrange, as he knocked down two jumpers in the first quarter:
Ersan Ilyasova returned to his old stomping grounds in Philadelphia, where he spent 53 games earlier this season before being traded to Atlanta for Tiago Splitter, who did not feature for the 76ers against his old team. Ilyasova contributed all over the floor, putting up 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and, of course, a drawn offensive foul late in the game against Philadelphia’s Gerald Henderson.
Dennis Schröder had a game to forget, with more shots than points and a ghastly nine turnovers. Jose Calderon received the backup point guard minutes with Malcolm Delaney firmly stapled to the bench but was mostly ineffective in his ten minutes of play. As the Hawks wind down the regular season, the backup point guard role becomes more of an issue. Looking ahead to the playoffs, coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff will have to find a way to buoy the team on both ends while either Calderon or Delaney are in the game in order to survive those minutes.
After two games in as many nights, the Hawks get two days off before a pair of weekend games in Chicago on Saturday and in Brooklyn on Sunday. It’s possible that we’ll see Paul Millsap and Thabo Sefolosha back for one or both of those games, but the Hawks have been non-committal on a specific timetable for either guy.