The Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers matched up Monday night in a battle between the last two undefeated teams in the Eastern Conference, despite the regular season being less than a week old. The Hawks looked to go 3-0 for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Lloyd Pierce elected to go with a starting lineup of Trae Young, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Alex Len for the third straight game as Kevin Huerter works his way back from a minor knee ailment. Huerter’s minute restriction is still set at 20 minutes, as Pierce confirmed before the game. Reddish and Hunter were upgraded from 25 to 30 minutes, while Pierce did note there is no guarantee either player reaches the 30-minute mark.
Philadelphia went with a lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid, the lineup Elton Brand envisioned finishing games for the Sixers when he put the roster together this summer. Embiid was questionable until about 30 minutes before tip-off with a right ankle injury that held him out of Saturday night’s game in Detroit.
Collins opened the scoring less than ten seconds into play with a quick three-pointer, assisted by Young. Young also scored six points in the first 3:02.
Atlanta got out to a scorching hot start overall, scoring 21 points in the first 5:05, getting out to a ten-point lead. The Sixers called a timeout at the 6:55 mark after a quick 8-0 run by the Hawks.
The run reached 11-0 before the Sixers finally scored again.
The Hawks maintained their hot start through the end of the first quarter, leading 40-31 heading into the second. Young had 13 points and three assists in another hot start. Collins added seven points while Huerter and Jabari Parker each had six off of the bench. Simmons led all Sixers scorers with nine first quarter points.
The Sixers clawed back within five in the first 2:06 of the second, with the Hawks defense slipping a bit to start the second after a relatively solid start. The offense was able to keep some momentum, enough to keep them out in front into the middle of the period.
The Sixers continued to fight back into the game in what was a much sloppier quarter from an offensive standpoint. A 12-3 Sixers run put them back in front late in the second. The scoring picked back up late in the period, with the Hawks going to the break up 6.
Young finished the half with 19 points and five assists. Collins had nine points and four rebounds.
Embiid went to the break with 19 points, four rebounds and three assists while Richardson added 14 points.
There were some chippy moments earlier in the second half, and Embiid put an exclamation on things with this dunk over Collins. Following the play, Young and Embiid both received technical fouls.
The third quarter remained tightly contested before the Hawks went on yet another 11-0 run to go back up seven. The Sixers failed to score from the 7:24 mark to the 3:06 mark.
Vince Carter with career points numbers 25433 and 25434 pic.twitter.com/d8b6tltyc6— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 29, 2019
The Sixers yet again clawed back in the game late in the third, cutting the Hawks lead back to one by the end of the quarter.
The Hawks held a slight three-point lead with 9:43 to play after a trio of Trae Young free throws at 88-85. Both teams struggled to score for the next few minutes, with the lead growing to 93-87 by the 6:18 mark.
A Hunter three put the Hawks up 98-90, leading to a timeout from Brett Brown with 4:53 remaining.
Simmons cut it back to six with 4:35 left with a layup, then Embiid got to the line after a Sixers stop to get the Hawk lead down to four at 98-94. An Embiid dunk after another stop made it a two-point game with 3:42 to play. Timeout Hawks.
Coming out of the timeout, Hunter got to the line and split the free throws to make it 99-96 with 3:29 to play. Embiid fired back with another post score to cut it to one. After several more free throws from each side, the Hawks trailed the Sixers by 1 with 2:00 to play, 101-100.
Harris scored on a tough post look with 42.1 to play to put the Sixers up 103-100. After a stop by each group, the Hawks again had the ball down three with 9.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Sixers fouled Young, putting him on the line with 8 seconds left. He split the free throws, making the first. On the miss of the second free throw, Collins tipped back the miss to tie the score at 103.
On the ensuing possession, Collins fouled out on an entry pass to Embiid with 5.3 seconds remaining. Embiid made both free throws to ice the game for the Sixers, as Vince Carter’s game-winning attempt fell off the rim.
Young finished with 25 points, nine assists and four rebounds in the loss. Young struggled a bit in this one despite the solid line, committing seven turnovers and scoring only 6 points in the second half. Collins added 16 points and eight rebounds. Hunter posted 14 points and nine rebounds in what continues to be an impressive rookie year for the No. 4 overall pick. Bruno Fernando had 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 16 minutes off the bench.
Embiid had 36 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block, putting the Sixers on his back after being questionable to even suit up less than hour until tip.
The Hawks will be back in action tomorrow night from Miami as they play their first back-to-back of the regular season vs. the Heat.