Following the recent victory over the Celtics, the usual starters for the Sixers hit the floor against the Hawks Saturday night in Atlanta. The general team vibe was along these lines:
Jimmy rolling up to the game in Atlanta is an absolute mood. pic.twitter.com/cYHXUnej1U— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 23, 2019
First Quarter (PHL: 41 | ATL: 34)
The opening stanza got off to a hot start, with Trae Young looking every bit a future offensive star. Embiid got to the foul line with ease, taking ten(!) free throws to finish with nine points, sharing the scoring lead for the Sixers with Ben Simmons. As a whole, the Sixers shot 17 free throws in the quarter. However, the biggest highlight was Boban drilling his first career 3-pointer.
Also of note, Ben Simmons rejecting the assistance of former teammate Justin Anderson in lieu of his current teammates.
Pretty sure Ben declined the help-up from former mate Anderson, waits for his buds pic.twitter.com/2U1XDy0v9T— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) March 24, 2019
Second Quarter (PHI: 68 | ATL: 74)
Joel Embiid started off strong, hitting a 3, layup (via Simmons), and jumper for the first three Philadelphia baskets of the quarter.
Ben hits Joel in rhythm after he’d just made a 3, that sets his man up for the pump fake then another one bites the dust on the 7’2 euro step. Ben And Joel nice chemistry here pic.twitter.com/F3B3affv2B— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) March 24, 2019
However, the SIxers were outscored 18-9 to go down 50-52 by the 7:30 mark of the quarter. Much of this run was done via the pick-and-roll play of Taurean Prince and Dewayne Dedmon. In general, the Sixers looked gassed, particularly on the defensive end. Trae continued his stellar offensive play, dropping a 21-point, 9-assist, 4-rebound line at the half.
The Sixers gave up a pretty inexcusable 74 points in the first half, and only remained within striking distance due to Atlanta’s own porous defense. Of note, the Sixers were 7-of-13 from 3 and still managed to be down by six. In terms of positives, Ben had no turnovers, and the team as a whole had a pretty solid five total for the half. Also, our own twitter feed highlights a nice defensive play by JJ, continuing the trend of less bad defense from him across the board in the last few games.
Good D by JJ, making a name for himself (?!) on that end lately pic.twitter.com/Sn6g2kxUq7— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) March 24, 2019
Third Quarter (PHL: 100 | ATL: 100)
After two quick Sixers buckets and an Atlanta 3 (for Trae’s 10th assist of the night), the third quarter looked to be just as offensively oriented as the first half. After Prince’s second 3 of the half, Brett Brown called a timeout with 9:10 remaining, down 74-80. Post-timeout, Tobias Harris continued his bizarre recent streak of missing shots at the rim, kind of sort of leading to a John Collins dunk. With eight minutes to go, Joel splashed home his second 3 of the game, temporarily cutting the deficit to three points. After several more minutes of trading baskets, the Sixers go on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a 3 from Mike Scott via Tobias to cut the lead to two points and force a Hawks timeout. Five points from JJ in 30 seconds to close the quarter locked it up at 100 apiece heading into the final period.
Fourth Quarter (PHI: 127 | ATL: 129)
Continuing to trade baskets at the start of the fourth, the entire Atlanta starting lineup had huge plus-minus numbers, although the Hawks were only up by two with eight minutes left in the game. After more sloppy play, wIth five minutes left, Tobias Harris cut the lead to 101-103 with a driving layup. Following another blown Tobias layup and a Mike Scott turnover/foul disaster, the Sixers were once again down four with under five to play.
Then, with just under three minutes to play, Jimmy Butler hit a pair of foul shots to take the lead, 119-118. Ben hit a running hook to extend the lead to three with two minutes to play. Following two John Collins free throws and an Embiid turnover, Kevin Huerter hit a jumper to retake the lead. Coming out of the timeout, both teams exchanged turnovers, and Jimmy hit two at the line to give the Sixers a one-point lead — followed immediately by a Trae Young 3.
Another Butler layup and two foul shots put the Sixers up two with 40 seconds left, and Brett subbed in James Ennis for JJ Redick for the ensuing defensive possession. Prince scored to tie it up, and then Philadelphia had a lovely shot clock violation with two seconds left to give the Hawks one last chance to win it in regulation. Trae Young then hit a layup as time expired to win. Not great. I’m going to pretend this game didn’t happen and keep on moving.