This was the worst meltdown against the Hawks in franchise history. The Sixers dropped their third in a row, falling 139-132 in Atlanta Wednesday night. Tyrese Maxey had 13 fourth-quarter points on his way to a 35-point night before fouling out in overtime.
While Joel Embiid remained sidelined, Tobias Harris and De’Anthony Melton both returned to the lineup. Harris had 32 points, shooting 12-of-24 from the field while pulling down 10 rebounds.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 28 points while Dejounte Murray and Jalen Johnson each finished with 25.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- With both starting centers sidelined, their reserves were certainly ready for the extra workload. Onyeka Okongwu scored 11 of the Hawks’ first 18 points as Atlanta hunted for lobs. Paul Reed did a solid job trying to gum up the works at the start. He also made two of his first three buckets from the field.
- Melton was also ready to go from the jump, knocking down his first three-pointer of the ballgame, making his first two of three from the field as well. His minutes are likely being watched closely. He had a short five-minute shift to start the game.
things we missed seeing: this. pic.twitter.com/y3KsPPrCDV— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 11, 2024
- Nick Nurse played around with some rotations in the first. He abandoned the Mo Bamba minutes after picking up two quick fouls, matching the Hawks’ small-ball lineup. Eleven different Sixers including Jaden Springer and KJ Martin played in the first, as they ended it trailing by three.
- Springer always seems to do an exceptional job guarding Young. He opened the second by pressing him hard into the corner, forcing an airball. A few possessions later he swatted a Young layup just as he got it out of his hand.
- The city of Philadelphia is making it Marcus Morris week, and he was feeling it in the first half. Not only did he make three triples, but he knocked down a one-legged fadeaway after grabbing an offensive rebound. Ready to receive the key to the city, he was the Sixers’ leading scorer with 13 at the break.
- Philly’s offense went ice cold at the end of the half. They went over three minutes without a field goal, but the Hawks were hardly able to capitalize. Thanks to a three from Nico Batum ending that drought and Young picking up a technical, the Sixers went into the break with a three-point lead.
- Maxey’s first half was rather up-and-down, but things went better for him to start the second, especially when he leaned on the two-man game with Reed. Philly was scoring just about every time they went to that action and looked aimless when they didn't.
- Reed was even able to make a few nice reads on short-rolls. He had two assists to Harris, who himself did a much better job of getting downhill in the third. Harris made his first four shots of the third.
- The Hawks put a lot of pressure on the rim, and the Sixers’ shot blockers were up to the task. Reed, Bamba and Batum all had two blocks through three quarters. Batum got his in a very short span.
It's a Batum block party pic.twitter.com/9SlDh8wieW— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 11, 2024
- Save for the Batum block party, there wasn’t a ton of defense on either side in the third. Both teams shot over 55% from the field in the quarter. With the Sixers shooting 62% themselves, they held a three-point lead going into the final quarter.
- Despite having their Trae Young-stopper on the floor in Springer, he was still able to heat up in the second half. He ripped off nine points across the quarters to fuel an Atlanta run to retake the lead.
- The offense stalled out in the fourth. So much so that they were only able to get points out of some cherry-picking from Harris. Harris and Maxey ended up being up the only Sixers to make a field goal in the fourth, Morris hitting a pair of free throws was their only teammate to score.
- Maxey certainly took this game over in the fourth, especially the last two minutes. He slammed home a highly-contested drive to give Philly the lead with a minute and a half left. He came down the floor and buried a step-back three the very next possession.
- That four-point lead still wasn’t enough. A silly foul from Oubre gave the Hawks a three-point play on a Jalen Johnson dunk. Young got himself to the line their next trip down the floor, and split the pair to tie the game. The Sixers decided not to use a timeout for their final shot, and Maxey got stripped attempting to drive to the basket. It appeared that Young got Maxey across the wrist, but Nurse unsuccessfully used his challenge on the previous defensive possession.
- Nurse attempted to put Bamba in the game just for the jump ball, then immediately sub Morris back in the game. It was funny to witness when they didn’t get the dead ball to make it happen, but Bamba acquitted himself well enough to stay out there. An offensive rebound that led to a Maxey three and a block on the other end sent Morris back to the bench before he even checked in.
- The Sixers encountered another handicap as Maxey fouled out with 1:44 left in overtime. Nurse challenged his fifth foul, but probably wished he had saved it for his sixth. Either way, Philly did not score once Maxey was disqualified, allowing the Hawks to go out in front.
- After a quick trip, the Sixers are home for their next three. They’ll kick it off by welcoming the Sacramento Kings to town Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.