HAWKS BEAT SIXERS 91-85
The Atlanta Hawks are in a type of form that’s never been seen in this franchise. The Hawks are on a franchise record 18-game winning streak and tied for 8th longest single season run in NBA history (including 9 straight at Philips Arena). The Hawks are 32-2 (.941) over the last 34 contests, and are now 31 games over .500 for the 1st time since April 19, 1997. The Hawks are sitting pretty with the best record in the NBA (39-8) and lead the NBA the fewest points allowed (96.3).
Thabo Sefolosha, Shelvin Mack, and DeMarre Carroll were out with injuries for tonight’s matchup with the Sixers. The Al Horford-led Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 91-85, but the league leaders ran into a scare in the final 5 minutes. The Hawks were dominating most of the game but couldn’t increase on their multiple leads in the competition. The Sixers continued to chip away and eventually shocked Philips Arena outscoring the home-team 32-22 in the 3rd Quarter.
Their late dominance and 4th Quarter defense kept the Hawks on their heels and eventually found themselves level with the home club. Dennis Schröder hit 2 key jumpers to keep the Hawks in the game, along with contributions from Al Horford and Kent Bazemore. With all the injuries on the team, John Jenkins made the most of his start shooting 80% from the field with 3 rebounds and 9 points. Al Horford led the team with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Elton Brand saw some clock tonight nabbing 5 rebounds.
With all of the stats and records going in favor of the Hawks, it was almost destroyed when the Hawks got sloppy on offense late in the game. The arena was in bewilderment as they saw their home team blow a 21 point lead and found themselves tied with a matter of minutes left.
The Sixers have to be happy with their performance tonight, albeit a loss. Their first trip to Atlanta ended in disaster. The second go-round proved their maturity. Their record doesn’t reflect their growth through the season. The young Sixers showed up on defense tonight and their confidence in their shooting continued to rise throughout the game. What caught my eye particularly was the play by Nerlens Noel. One can only wonder “how much of a monster he’ll be on defense in a few years,” or the other side of the coin, “wow, imagine if he had stayed at Kentucky.” Philadelphia has a young squad that can flat out jump out the gym. Shots were being blocked left and right and every rebound had to be contested heavily. With 6 of their players in double figures, they have a lot they can walk away with from this game.
Here’s what Coach Mike Budenholzer had to say after the game:
“Tonight you saw a team that’s really improved from the start of the season. Philadelphia is growing and improving their defense. They did a lot of things that made it difficult for us tonight. Credit to them and their players. Our group found a way. Dennis hit a big shot. We’re finding different ways to win, different players stepping up each night against a very good defensive team. We have to play a lot better going forward.”
The Hawks record their 19th-straight victory and move on to play the New Orleans Pelicans next Tuesday.