Sixers run on fumes in Atlanta
ATLANTA >> Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was borderline disgusted after watching his team commit nine turnovers in the first quarter.
It didn’t take long for Budenholzer to get the results he wanted as Atlanta had just seven turnovers over the last three periods.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points, Kent Bazemore added 17 and the Hawks won their fourth straight game with a 117-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
“It was like we’re handing them the ball and they’re going and scoring,” Budenholzer said. “Credit our guys to kind of flip that and just still play with great ball movement and great confidence and reduce the turnovers.”
Dwight Howard, the NBA’s active leader in double-doubles, had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks.
Jahlil Okafor finished with 18 points for the Sixers, who dropped to 1-8 a night after earning their first win.
Despite playing with a depleted roster, Philadelphia was within two with 3:50 left in the third. But Howard’s follow dunk gave the Hawks an 84-74 lead and Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer on the ensuing possession matched the 10-point advantage in the closing minutes of the period.
Hardaway hit 3s on consecutive possessions midway through the fourth to give Atlanta a 14-point lead. Dennis Schroder’s corner 3 made it 108-89 with 3:17 remaining.
Schroder finished with 16 points and Korver had 14.
“We really just couldn’t hold on,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “We have to do whatever we do by committee and we just didn’t do that. They historically have been a hard matchup for us.”
The injury-marred Sixers were without center Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless and Nerlens Noel.
Okafor, who had offseason knee surgery and played just three minutes Friday, was on a 24-minute limit. Embiid was sitting out the second night of the back-toback.
Philadelphia dropped to 1-45 in October and November dating to Nov. 22, 2013. The Sixers have dropped 19 straight on the road.
The Hawks took their first double-digit lead on Bazemore’s 3 in the closing seconds before halftime.
“On the turnovers, they were able to get some easy baskets,” Korver said. “It’s been a problem for us all year. It’s something we have to clean up. Coach Bud wants us to play free and to make things happen. He doesn’t want to take that away, but we have to be better, and that’s what he tells us.”
Sergio Rodriguez had 13 points for Philadelphia. Dario Saric and Nik Stauskas each added 12. Robert Covington scored all of his 11 points in the third.
“We made the run that allowed us to get back in the game,” Covington said. “We have to sustain that. I know we’re short-handed but that’s part of the situation we’ll be in.”
76ers: Embiid had 25 points in Friday’s overtime win over Indiana, but the 7-foot, 275-pound center isn’t playing both nights of back-to-back games in his rookie season after the No. 3 overall pick in 2014 had to sit out two years with right foot injuries.
Hawks: Atlanta began the night ranked second in field-goal percentage, third in assists, first in turnovers forced, second in points off turnovers and seventh in rebounding . ... They ranked 24th in rebounding last season, but the presence of Howard, the NBA’s active leader in career rebounds, has paid off in his first Hawks season.
Atlanta Hawks’ Kyle Korver reacts after hitting a threepointer in the third quarter against the Sixers on Saturday.