The Atlanta Hawks made their way to Philadelphia on Monday night to face off against the Joel Embiid and the 76ers. The Hawks won their first two games back from the All-Star break and were looking to get a little streak going against a quality opponent.
However, Ben Simmons was injured pretty severely in the 76ers loss to the Bucks on Saturday. The stud point forward has been ruled out indefinitely due to a back injury that has the team concerned, and Atlanta had the fortune to face a short-handed squad. In contrast, the Hawks were basically at full strength, aside from Clint Capela, Skal Labissiere and DeAndre’ Bembry, who continue to nurse injuries.
Atlanta hopped out to a quick lead to begin the night, but quickly saw things turn thanks to strong play out of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Dewayne Dedmon picked up two fouls in a hurry against Embiid and was basically rendered useless for the first quarter. John Collins did what he could, but Embiid is a pretty tall order for anyone on the defensive end.
There was a moment of triumph for Collins, though, as he was able to receive a pass in the lane from Young and proceeded to jam one on Embiid.
It wasn’t very long before Philadelphia stretched their lead out to 12 points. The Hawks did not respond well from there either. Furkan Korkmaz had a mini-explosion for the Sixers late in the first and helped them pummel Atlanta into a 33-16 deficit.
The Hawks closed decently, but the damage was already done as Philadelphia carried a 41-24 lead into the second.
Atlanta started to warm up on the defensive end in the second quarter thanks in large part to Bruno Fernando stepping up to guard Embiid.
In the early going of the second quarter, both teams were simply trading baskets, but the Hawks got a good push late in the quarter where Fernando cut the lead to just 11. Philadelphia would respond with a big close in the final three minutes to take the lead back to 19.
Trae Young hit a little floater with just over a second left in the half to cut the halftime gap to 17 points at 69-52, but the Hawks had to feel like things could’ve been much closer with a better close to the second.
Dedmon and Reddish were in foul trouble at halftime with three apiece. Dedmon only was able to play four (!) first half minutes.
The Hawks came out of halftime with their hair on fire. Atlanta scored the first seven points of the third and did not stop there.
After a counter sequence by the Sixers to keep the lead at 10 points, the Hawks went on another run fueled by Young and Hunter. With 12 straight points, Atlanta found themselves within just three points.
Philly attempted to stave off the incoming Hawks with a heavy dose of Embiid, but Atlanta was already rolling downhill. The Hawks finished the quarter by scoring eight points in the final minute to retake the lead at 92-91 going into the final frame including this ridiculous three pointer by Young to take the lead.
The Sixers really came into the fourth quarter with improved effort on the defensive end and were able to outscore the Hawks by six in the opening six minutes to regain the lead.
Atlanta went small going down the stretch with Dedmon on the bench having five fouls and that predictably did not go well against a frontcourt containing Al Horford and Embiid at the same time. Embiid continued to get whatever he wanted and the Sixers found themselves on a 17-4 run to take a double-digit lead once again.
Philadelphia continued to pound the inside and the home team was actually able to put the Hawks away pretty easily. Dedmon getting into foul trouble really ended up hurting Atlanta as Embiid destroyed the Hawks inside with a career high 49 points, and he really was the reason the Sixers won.
Trae Young had an uneven night outside of the third period despite his good line as he scored 28 points, dished 10 assists and grabbed seven rebounds. De’Andre Hunter had a good night with 22 points, with John Collins adding 21 points and nine rebounds.
The Hawks simply ran out of gas in the fourth quarter as the season is starting to hit its dog days. Atlanta will be back in action on Wednesday night to face the Magic at home.