The Atlanta Hawks can finally breathe a sigh of relief after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers. Trailing 23-32 at one point, the Hawks bounced back and totally overpowered the Sixers in the second and third quarter to defeat them 112-94.
Trae Young remained the top scorer for the Hawks as he dropped 26 buckets at 9/19 from the field. On the other hand, the Sixers struggled to cope even as Joel Embiid registered another double-double. Should the Sixers evade this situation, citing an excuse? The head coach thinks otherwise.
A few days ago, the Sixers were ruling the Eastern Conference with a 7-1 record. However, they now stand 3rd after taking back-to-back losses against the Nets, the Nuggets, and the Hawks. After enduring the latest loss, the newly appointed head coach Doc Rivers told reporters, “No one is going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to try to win these games. We’ve in a tough spot with COVID. … I have a sneaking feeling a lot of teams are going to have this problem.”
There was a disappointment in his voice because of the formidable lead that they blew and allowed the Celtics to reach the top. Notably, the Sixers were miserably short-handed when they stepped on to the court against the Nuggets. They played that game with 7+1 players, and their starting lineup missed four of the regular starters.
Ben Simmons was out because of a sore knee and did not return even against the Hawks. Both Seth Curry and Tobias Harris missed the games because of COVID protocols. They were forced to include an injured Mike Scott earlier against the Nuggets so they could fulfill the minimum criterion.
The concern with the Sixers has less to do with COVID issues and more to do with their injury woes In the nine games that Simmons played for them, he was averaging 13.4 points, 8.8 boards, and 7 assists. His absence certainly cost them at least one game from these two losses. Moreover, Joel Embiid’s back issues are ever more concerning. He is the backbone of the team on both ends and is touted as the MVP contender, and any injury to him can add to a troublesome regular season.
In the absence of Seth Curry and Tobias Harris, the Sixers were miserable against the Hawks from the three-point range. They converted just 8/36 three-pointers. Danny Green missed all of his seven attempts while Mike Scott missed his five. On the other hand, John Collins stuck to attempting just threes and converted 4. The Hawks’ bench outperformed the Sixers and made Doc Rivers understand how he has to work something out and keep his starting five healthy.
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