The 76ers looked to pour in as many points as possible as they looked to rebound from their loss against the Pacers in their previous tournament game.
Center Joel Embiid scored 32 points as he went 10-of-19 from the floor. Embiid’s teammate Tobias Harris chipped in another 29 points and the 76ers did not let up even after they essentially secured the game.
The Hawks also looked to score, not only as they tried to regain their footing in the game but the point differential for the tournament lingered in the back of their minds.
“I mean, you got to play to the buzzer,” Hawks forward Jalen Johnson said. “As you see both teams were still trying to score it and kind of the same thing in Detroit. We were trying to score to the end. And so, every point matters. The differential matters, so got that in the back of our heads.”
2. The tournament has added a few more loops to the regular season and the Hawks needed a win over the Sixers on Friday. A win would help make their case for a spot in the quarterfinals and continue their campaign for the NBA Cup.
But the Hawks’ loss omakes their path all the more complicated.
The tournament will come down to win/loss records and the Hawks have moved to 1-1, which pushes them out of the wild-card position. Only the top three teams and one wild-card team head to the quarterfinals, before the winners move on to the semifinals.
3. The Hawks have struggled over the last couple of games to limit second-chance points. The Hawks gave up 21 second-chance points to the Knicks on Wednesday.
Coming into the game, the Hawks tied for ninth in the league for fewest second-chance points allowed with 13.4. But they’ve given up on average of 18.5 points off offensive rebounds over the last two games, which is the fifth-most in the NBA.
Many of the Sixers’ second-chance opportunities came off of wide open 3-point tries. They put up 28 second-chance points off of 11 offensive rebounds and they ended up outscoring the Hawks 28-23 on second-chance points by the end of the game.
“When someone that gets that rebound has an angle, if you’re inside them and they’re getting the boards and easy kick out, and particularly once you get down there, there’s really no man orientation, so it becomes really difficult to guard and the way you guard it is coming up with the rebound,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said.
4. Officials ejected De’Andre Hunter after the forward vehemently protested a foul called on him during the third quarter. The Hawks had tied the Sixers at 60 on the other end and Hunter looked to make a stop by drawing a charge off of Embiid.
The call didn’t go Hunter’s way and officials called him for the foul. Hunter’s frustration bubbled over and he protested the calls emphatically and officials assessed him a pair of technicals. He was ejected from the game.
The Hawks tried to rally, going on a 13-5 run that helped them build a brief five-point lead but the Sixers quickly responded.
5. The game flowed strangely with plenty of calls from officials slowing any rhythm teams could build. The teams combined for 40 personal fouls, with Trae Young, who scored 22 points with 13 assists, and Embiid combining for 21 of the 58 free-throw attempts.
Early in the game, the refs whistled both teams for offensive interference on the Sixers’ Jaden Springer and the Hawks’ Onyeka Okongwu on back-to-back possessions.
Snyder looked to challenge the call, thinking it would give the Hawks two points. But officials deemed it unsuccessful and the Hawks lost their challenge for the remainder of the game.
Stat to know
133 - Trae Young has 133 career 20-point/10-assist games, passing Bob Cousy for the 15th-most in NBA history.
“There’s times when it’s for a particular player in a foul situation where it can impact the game (or) to take something away. Usually you want to take points off the board or put them on one way or another.” -- Hawks coach Quin Snyder on his early use of the challenge.
The Hawks continue their in-season tournament campaign Tuesday by hosting the Pacers, who have won their first two group-play games.