The Sixers kicked off a two-game set against the Atlanta Hawks Thursday night and laid an absolute egg. An ugly offensive night for both teams spiraled as the Sixers fell, 104-95. Joel Embiid’s 26 and 13 was enough to keep the game competitive, but Tyrese Maxey and the rest of the Sixers struggled mightily.
Here are some instant observations from the loss.
- It was quite the sleepy start for both teams tonight, save for the two brightest stars on the court. Joel Embiid, as he often has against this Hawks team, bullied Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu to 11 easy first quarter points. The rest of the Sixers shot just 3-14 in the quarter.
- Likewise, Trae Young also got off to a hot start, going to the free throw line nine times, helping his way to 15 first quarter points. Young kicked off an 11-0 Atlanta run to end the first, giving them a nine-point lead to start this one.
- Paul Reed was once again the first center off the bench tonight, Sixers Twitter can keep the pitchforks in the shed, for now.
- In case the score wasn’t indicative enough, it was a rough shooting night for both teams; they combined to go 3-25 from beyond the arc in the first half. The Sixers took advantage of Atlanta’s cold streak, starting the quarter with an 11-2 run to climb back into the game.
- Whether it was his current cold streak, the absence of James Harden, or a combination of both, Tyrese Maxey looked more deferential than ever. He took just five shots in the first half. Maybe it is because he hasn’t had many cold streaks at all in his young career, but Maxey looked off in the first half.
- The Sixers’ offensive shortcomings really show on nights like tonight when one of their stars is having an off night. While Maxey started taking more shots, he could not snap himself out of a funk. Without Harden and with Embiid in foul trouble, Philly couldn’t scrap anything else together to get themselves going offensively. Taking care of the ball was a big issue too. After just seven first half turnovers, the Sixers gave the ball away five times in the frame.
- It had been a while since the Sixers played a game like this, but they were only competitive at all because Embiid was on the floor. This was especially a problem in the third as Embiid sat for a good chunk of it with four fouls. Through three quarters, Embiid was a plus-12, Atlanta led by 14.
big fella working all 94 feet. pic.twitter.com/z00GaySJZN— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 11, 2022
- If the 12-0 Atlanta run to end the third wasn’t enough, the Sixers rolled over and died as the fourth quarter started. Despite finally knocking down a couple of threes, they continued to just hand the ball to the Hawks as they pushed their lead to 20.
- Ironically, the most fight the Sixers showed in the fourth was when they waved the white flag. Philly went to an all-bench unit for the last four minutes of the game. They did their job so well that the lead and was cut to six and Doc Rivers actually brought his starters back into the game but it was too little, too late.
- The Sixers and Hawks will go at it again, this time on Saturday night from The Center at 7:30 P.M.