Hawks rout Six­ers be­hind Mill­sap

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Aaron Bracy

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Even with Dwight Howard hav­ing an off game, At­lanta won eas­ily.

And coach Mike Bu­den­holzer said that’s a good sign for the Hawks.

Paul Mill­sap scored 17 points to lead five Hawks in dou­ble fig­ures and At­lanta top­pled the Philadel­phia 76ers 104-72 on Satur­day.

Kyle Korver added 15 points and Mike Mus­cala added 14 for At­lanta.

The Hawks barely needed top off­sea­son ac­qui­si­tion Howard. The big man had just two points and seven re­bounds in his sec­ond game for his home­town team af­ter sign­ing a three-year, $70 mil­lion free-agent con­tract this sum­mer. The 31-yearold cen­ter had 19 re­bounds and 11 points in At­lanta’s sea­son-open­ing 114-99 win over Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day.

“The great thing about adding Dwight to our group and some­thing that Dwight is em­brac­ing and cher­ish­ing is that we play as a team,” Bu­den­holzer said.

“Ev­ery­body steps up, ev­ery­body con­trib­utes. Dwight is go­ing to have great, big nights. A day like to­day was maybe not his day. Mus­cala, Paul and Kris (Humphries) were great. It’s much more a pos­i­tive than any­thing.”

Den­nis Schroder dis­played the play­mak­ing abil­ity the Hawks are count­ing on with him tak­ing over for Jeff Teague as the team’s point guard. Af­ter get­ting two as­sists in the opener, Schroder had 11 to go with 11 points against Philadel­phia.

Joel Em­biid and Ser­gio Ro­driguez had 14 points apiece for the 76ers.

The Hawks’ re­serves (51 points) had nearly as many points (53) as the starters.

“It says a lot,” Mill­sap said. “Our bench is great. Our bench did a great job of com­ing in and spark­ing a nice, lit­tle run for us. This game, last game, they did a great job of do­ing that.”

Mill­sap scored four points dur­ing At­lanta’s 8-2 run to open the fourth quar­ter, capped by Mus­cala’s 17-foot jumper for an 82-60 lead.

Af­ter sit­ting out for two years be­cause of a foot in­jury, Em­biid daz­zled the home crowd with 20 points and seven re­bounds in 22 min­utes in Wed­nes­day’s sea­son-open­ing loss to Ok­la­homa City. The third over­all pick in the 2014 draft, Em­biid had trou­ble stay­ing on the court in the open­ing half against Or­lando.

Mo­ments af­ter chants of “Trust the process! Trust the process!” ser­e­naded Em­biid on the free-throw line, the crowd erupted in the sec­ond quar­ter when Em­biid blocked Howard’s shot at­tempt.

Em­biid had to go to the bench sec­onds later af­ter pick­ing up his third foul. The Hawks took ad­van­tage, outscor­ing Philadel­phia 1710 from that point to en­ter the in­ter­mis­sion up 53-39.

Philadel­phia could get only within 10 points in the third quar­ter on Jerami Grant’s high­light-reel re­verse dunk. But the Hawks scored eight of the fi­nal 10 points of the pe­riod to en­ter the fourth quar­ter ahead 74-58.

Na­tional An­them

A day af­ter apol­o­giz­ing for pro­hibit­ing R&B singer Sevyn Streeter from per­form­ing the na­tional an­them at Wed­nes­day’s opener be­cause Streeter was wear­ing a “We Mat­ter” T-shirt, the song went off with­out any in­ci­dents or protests prior to Satur­day’s game. Mike Moore, a mem­ber of the team’s “Flight Squad,” per­formed the na­tional an­them with no signs that any­thing was amiss. No Cheeses­teaks De­An­dre Bem­bry had two points for At­lanta. The rookie is a prod­uct of nearby Saint Joseph’s. He re­ceived cheers when he en­tered with just un­der six min­utes left.

Bem­bry said he had “a bunch of peo­ple” in at­ten­dance from St. Joe’s. One thing he didn’t have while back in Philadel­phia, though, was a cheeses­teak due to the re­cent re­moval of a wis­dom tooth.

More Min­utes

Em­biid, on a min­utes re­stric­tion be­cause of his foot in­jury, played 15 min­utes.

“With the min­utes he played, he clearly helped us,” Philadel­phia coach Brett Brown said. “We’re look­ing for­ward to him play­ing more min­utes.”

Tip-Ins

Hawks: Mill­sap, a three­time All-Star, is av­er­ag­ing a team-best 22.5 points per game through two games . ... At­lanta nearly dou­bled Philadel­phia in as­sists, with 31 to the 76ers’ 16.

76ers: Philadel­phia, which started 0-18 on the way to a 10-72 mark last sea­son, looks for its first win with its third straight home game to start the sea­son, Tues­day against the Magic. Five of the 76ers’ first six games are at home. Philadel­phia is play­ing with­out three starters be­cause of in­jury: Jer­ryd Bay­less (wrist), Ner­lens Noel (knee) and 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Sim­mons (foot).

Up Next

Hawks: Host Sacra­mento on Mon­day night.

76ers: Host Or­lando on Tues­day night.

MICHAEL PEREZ — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

At­lanta Hawks’ Paul Mill­sap drives past Ger­ald Hen­der­son of the Six­ers dur­ing the first half Satur­day.

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