Even without Ben Simmons in the starting lineup, the Hawks had a tall task against one of the elite home teams in the NBA on Monday. The Sixers were 26-2 at the Wells Fargo Center going into yesterday’s contest and, regardless of the absence of their primary ball facilitator, left little question as to why by the end of the night.
The Hawks started this game off on the wrong foot, struggling to score early. Joel Embiid was on an onslaught from the get-go, and Tobias Harris and Furkan Korkmaz produced from behind the arc as well. The Hawks were able to tighten things up late in the quarter but allowed 41 points to Philadelphia in the opening period, falling behind by 17.
The Hawks stepped up defensively and traded baskets with Philly for the duration of the second quarter, but still found themselves trailing 69-52 heading into the half.
However, Atlanta hit the reset button coming out of the break, going on a run that would make this game enjoyable, behind 16 third-quarter points from De’Andre Hunter in his hometown of Philadephia, one of the most impressive stretches we have seen from him in his young career. Collins also had an excellent third quarter and kept showing flashes of his inside-outside game with another encouraging performance from beyond the arc. To cap it all off, Trae Young hit an absurd three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Hawks a 92-91 lead heading into the final period.
Atlanta was able to hold on for a few minutes into the fourth quarter, but then the wheels totally fell off for them, ultimately being outscored 38-20. Joel Embiid finished off his legendary performance by hitting some free throws, an impressive dunk and then an even more impressive three-point ball to put things away. He went on to score a career-high 49 points and had an interesting exchange with the Hawks as time expired.
Maybe it had to do with Kevin Huerter’s garbage time steal as the clock was running down. Let’s just say it would have been an excellent night to have Clint Capela. Dewayne Dedmon got in foul trouble early, and the Hawks had no answer for the focal point of Philly’s offense on Monday evening.
Trae Young quietly (for his standards) flirted with a triple-double, posting 28 points, 11 assists, and 7 boards. Hunter finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds, and Collins finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Bruno Fernando also had some subtle flashes at times, hitting a three-ball and posting 10 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes played.