The #HospitalSixers got the job done, shocking the Atlanta Hawks — a playoff team at full strength — in overtime, 136-131.
The Sixers’ seeding is set, which meant this (and the next) game had the same importance of a preseason game. Almost all of the Sixers’ best players were out for this one, allowing Jaden Springer and Mac McClung to get some much deserved shine. For Atlanta, it meant much more — as they’re battling for play-in standing.
The Sixers started off the game with good energy. Springer even hit a catch-and-shoot three, finishing the quarter with five points. The Sixers weren’t just trading buckets with the Hawks — they were leading early on.
Jalen McDaniels, in particular, was awesome throughout the first quarter. He’s not a flawless player by any means, but he fills a huge need for this roster as an athletic, lengthy body that’s capable of making good things happen on both ends. J-Mac finished the quarter with 11 points, three rebounds, and an assist on perfect shooting. He was a big reason the Sixers set the pace early on.
As expected, the Hawks talent eventually showed up with them creating some space in the second quarter. Still, seeing players like Dewayne Dedmon diving for loose balls was a refreshing sight to see. It’s pretty much all anyone could ask for in this game.
Unfortunately, Paul Reed got into foul trouble fast in this one, which meant real Montrezl Harrell minutes for the first time since December. Believe it or not, his minutes went pretty OK. He had two nice put-backs, and somehow got a tech after one. He didn’t really do anything, or say anything, it was just Tony Brothers being Tony Brothers. Trez’s tenure in Philly has been rough to say the least, so seeing him put together a nice stretch after being on ice for months was cool to see. Good for him.
Springer had two nice drives in the second quarter. If you haven’t bought Jaden Springer stock, I’d spring (ba dum tss) to do so. He’s made some serious progress with his perimeter shooting this year, and even if the shot remains streaky, he’s capable of doing other things offensively. He’s more than comfortable in the midrange area and putting the ball on the floor. It’s early, but it’s hard to imagine him being a complete offensive liability with those skills.
J-Mac continued to be the Sixers’ best player throughout the second quarter, logging 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. He has potential to be a big long-term piece for this team, and watching him step up several times when called upon is great to see.
The Sixers trailed 63-53 at halftime. Credit to them for playing well, but this Hawks team comes off as very underwhelming. Between Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, they have the talent to blow out this Sixers team on their home floor. Quin Synder is a great coach, but this team is a mess.
The Sixers gave tremendous effort in the third quarter, with multiple players stepping up. Mac McClung got more burn in this period, and even drilled a three — which was a cool moment. In the end, they finished the period outscoring the Hawks, 33-27. The Sixers without Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, or De’Anthony Melton scored more than 30 points in two of the first three quarters. Godspeed, Hawks fans.
The bench guys continued to show effort early in the fourth quarter. Shake Milton had a nice lob to Dedmon, and Danuel House tried to kill the rim per usual. Make or miss, House’s energy seems to be contagious at times. Niang went on to hit a three cutting the lead to just two points with under eight minutes left to go.
The box score doesn’t do it justice, but I thought Jaden Springer had an excellent defensive game against Trae Young. Going from guarding G League guards to Young within the span of 48 hours is a huge ask for anyone, let alone a 20-year-old. Young only shot 41.7 percent from the field and 1 of 7 from three. He also had eight turnovers.
Jaden Springer, the guy who quite literally played his first real minutes in the NBA, took over down the stretch. He hit a three, had a putback dunk off of an offensive rebound, a tough fadeway to tie the game, and locked up Trae Young in the final possession. This game, as we all expected, was going into overtime.
Jaden Springer is 20 years old and this is his first game getting real minutes pic.twitter.com/32Ruefpztr— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) April 8, 2023
The Sixers started off overtime with several quick baskets, mostly courtesy of Shake Milton. Milton struggled offensively tonight, but he did log 15 assists — which is a career-high. The Hawks responded temporarily, but a Georges Niang three iced the game — Sixers win 136-131.
The Sixers had zero business being in this game, let alone winning it. Seeing this amount of effort from the entire rotation, with many players that typically never play, was a real treat for fans. Shoutout to Shake Milton, Jaden Springer, Jalen McDaniels, Georges Niang, and Danuel House, Jr. for what turned out to be a really fun game.