The Atlanta Hawks did not show any ill effects of what might be the toughest back-to-back from a travel perspective of the entire season, as they played the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm ET in San Antonio, then flew back to Atlanta in the early morning to get ready for Wednesday’s 7:30 pm ET tip against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks were able to outscore the Sixers, 130-122, and Atlanta was frankly the better team for basically all 48 minutes of the contest.
The Sixers were largely healthy entering the game, but played without All-Star center Joel Embiid as he rests up some ailments with the postseason looming.
Taurean Prince returned to the starting lineup for Atlanta after missing the past three games.
Scoring was rampant from the jump, with both teams racing out to the ten point mark in the first two minutes of the game.
Three-point give-and-go for Taurean Prince pic.twitter.com/khpKioV4Qc— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) April 3, 2019
Kevin Huerter was especially active early on both ends of the floor. John Collins was doing John Collins things.
1) Kevin Huerter scores— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) April 3, 2019
2) Vince shares behind-the-scenes glimpse of KH
3) John destroys the rim pic.twitter.com/X3jC4xWIP3
The first quarter was largely back-and-forth, with the teams combining for 80 total points and each carrying an offensive rating of over 145 into the second period. The Hawks were especially hot out of the gates, with all five starters scoring at least six points in the period.
Huerter led all first quarter Atlanta scorers with nine points, while Trae Young had eight points and four assists. J.J. Redick paced Philadelphia with 12 first quarter points.
A quick two minute 14-3 run across the end of the first and early moments of the second gave Atlanta their first extended lead of the evening, 50-41. The Sixers called timeout to regroup at the 9:22 mark in the second. In the process of the run, Justin Anderson reminded Ben Simmons who helped to raise him back in Philadelphia.
Justin Anderson just blocked Ben Simmons and flexed on him after, the Hawks came to play pic.twitter.com/Ng22cYoTMf— Chris Montano (@gswchris) April 4, 2019
The Sixers came out of the timeout on a quick 8-0 run to pull back within one. Butler tied the game at 58 with a pair of free throws at the 5:21 mark.
How do you know two players are on the same frequency?— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) April 4, 2019
When Trae Young can throw a pass before John Collins is looking and know that good things will happen. pic.twitter.com/YoM1fUJwWt
Philadelphia went on another 11-0 spurt down the stretch of the period to get out to a seven point lead, as the Hawks went almost four full game minutes without scoring a point.
The Hawks responded with a quick 14-3 run to close the half to regain the lead, propelled by a pair of 29 foot three-point bombs from Huerter and Young on back-to-back possessions. Young individually had seven points in the last 1:39 of the half.
Young finished the half with 15 points (6-for-9 from the floor, 1-for-3 from three), six assists and three rebounds, with Huerter (5-for-10, 2-for-3 from three) adding 12 points, three rebounds and three helpers of his own.
As a team, the Hawks racked up 16 assists in the first two quarters compared to only three turnovers and shot 8-for-19 from three-point range. That will play.
Redick led all Philadelphia scorers with 18, while Tobias Harris added 14 points and three rebounds across 17 first half minutes.
The Sixers opened the half on a 10-4 run, regaining the lead and forcing a Hawks timeout at the 9:22 mark in the third.
Young and Collins kept the foot on the gas for Atlanta while Jimmy Butler (finally) went to work for the guests, as the teams exchanged baskets into the thick of the third quarter.
The alley-oop fest continues.
Will never tire of Trae Young-to-John Collins alley oops. Ever. pic.twitter.com/RkLawkM3fC— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) April 4, 2019
Collins and Young both went over the 20-point mark with plenty of time to spare in the third, with Young also getting into double-digit assists around the same time.
The Hawks carried a four point lead into the fourth after a close fought third, 98-94. After the clubs exchanged a couple of baskets, Alex Len hit a three-pointer to give Atlanta a seven point lead, then Bembry stripped Harris and drew a foul in transition, hitting both free throws to make it a nine point lead for the hosts at the 10:00 mark of the fourth.
Someone come help the soon-to-be former Rookie of the Year, because DeAndre' Bembry ain't gonna be the one to do it. pic.twitter.com/JAdBPNGGCR— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) April 4, 2019
Atlanta continued to give the short-handed Sixers trouble, leading by as many as 13 midway through the final period. The Sixers were able to put a scare into the Hawks faithful in the last two minutes but came up a little short. Young converted a big three at the 1:32 mark, but picked up a flagrant one foul in a five point game with 32.5 remaining to make things interesting. Butler however missed both free throws, effectively sealing the win for the home team.
Young led the way again for the home team, posting 33 points to go along with 12 assists and seven rebounds. Collins added 25 points and two blocked shots to go with his eight boards. Bembry tallied six rebounds and four assists to go along with 17 points.
Redick led the way for the Sixers with 26 points, while Simmons posted 15 points, 15 boards and four steals.
The Hawks are back in action Friday night in Orlando for a tilt against the Magic.