The Sixers were able to bounce back at home when they welcomed the Atlanta Hawks to town Saturday night. Despite letting the Hawks cut a 27-point lead down to single digits, the Sixers held on, 121-109. Joel Embiid was dominant in the midrange, dropping 42 points and six assists, both season-highs.
Here are some instant takeaways from the win.
- The Sixers picked up where they left off on Thursday, by leaving everything in the hands of Joel Embiid. The big fella scored Philly’s first 10 points of the game and shot 5-7 in the opening frame. Embiid has generally fared well against Clint Capela in his career, and Hawks were forced to back him up with Frank Kaminsky in the absence of Onyeka Okongwu, a very favorable matchup for the Sixers.
- Philly was able to take advantage of some sloppy basketball from the Hawks early, as they sent the Sixers to the line 10 times in the first. The Sixers also got some early bench contributions, as Furkan Korkmaz came off the bench with six first quarter points, and Danuel House Jr. got the crowd on its feet with a dunk over Kaminsky. Unfortunately for Korkmaz, he would leave the game in the second with a knee injury, but the Sixers 37-point first gave them a 13-point lead early.
- Tobias Harris started off the second very strong, putting up 10 of his 21 to start the quarter as the Sixers lead ballooned to as much as 18. Tyrese Maxey seemed to find his shooting touch again, as he put up 14 points on 5-7 shooting in the first half. Maxey would finish with 26 points on 65.8 percent true shooting. Everything seemed to be working for the Sixers offensively in the first half, they shot 58 percent from the field in the half.
- If there was one negative to the half, it was Joel Embiid rolling his ankle midway through the second. Despite not coming out of the game, he appeared to be playing some though pain. It could be nothing, but also could be worth keeping an eye on if it lingers.
- Even in games the Sixers have played well in this year, they have tended to hit a lull in the third quarter. Tonight, the lull came at the end of the quarter. The Sixers dominated most of the third, stretching the lead to as much as 27 (Hey where have I seen that before?). Philly got sloppy, allowing Atlanta to cut the lead down to as little as 10. A timely four-point play from Georges Niang gave the Sixers a 15-point cushion going into the fourth.
- While the Hawks were just barely keeping scoring pace with the Embiid-Harris-Maxey trio for most of the third, the Sixers continued to get some solid bench contributions. Shake Milton came in and gave them 11 points, including some really nifty finishes around the rim.
- As the second half wore on, the Sixers began to look more and more like the Sixers from three or four years ago. Paul Reed did not have his best night, as Philly was hemorrhaging points with Embiid on the bench. There wasn’t much going on offensively either in the second half, as Trae Young cut the lead to single digits with just under six minutes left.
- Even when they led by as much as 27, the Sixers still found a way to feel bad about this loss. With the Jazz coming into town tomorrow, it would have been a great opportunity to get some extra rest for Embiid. Instead, he had to come back to the game, logging another 40-minute night. Still, the Sixers were able to get the dagger they needed, and it came from Matisse Thybulle of all people.