Hawks overpowered by Embiid, Sixers in final quarter of 129-112 loss

Led by a career night from All-Star center Joel Embiid, the Sixers (36-22) dealt the Hawks (17-42) a 129-112 loss Monday.

Below are some takeaways from the game:

1. With his size and skill, Embiid was simply too much for the Hawks to handle throughout the game, but particularly in the fourth quarter. Embiid had 22 of his career-high 49 points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals.

» MORE: Joel Embiid gives Kevin Huerter the middle finger

The Hawks had a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored 38-20 in the final 12 minutes while shooting 30% from the field (9-for-30) and going without a 3-pointer (0-for-11). “To be honest, he’s probably the best big in our league,” Trae Young said of Embiid, who was 17-of-24 from the field — including a 3-pointer — and 14-of-15 from the free throw line. “Super skilled, super strong. When he’s in attack mode, it’s hard to guard him.”

2. Rookie De’Andre Hunter, who missed the Hawks’ win vs. Dallas Saturday for personal reasons, was back and resuscitated the team’s offense in the third quarter. Trailing by 17 at halftime thanks mostly to a dreadful first quarter (the Sixers could barely miss, making 11 of their first 15 shots from the field to quickly make it 31-16), a fast-break dunk by Hunter (Young with the baseball-pass assist down the court) cut the deficit to 78-72 at the 5:43 mark.

A 3-pointer by Hunter on the Hawks’ next possession made it a 3-point game. The Hawks kept clawing their way back, outscoring the Sixers 40-22 in the third before drying up in the fourth. Hunter had 16 points in the third quarter alone and finished with 22 overall (6-15 FG, 1-6 from 3, 9-10 FT), adding seven rebounds and two assists. He’s averaging 16 points over his last five games.

“I thought our guys were brilliant in the third quarter to really compete, take the lead, with the way we started the first half,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “Our shots weren’t falling tonight, but I thought our defense really turned up, especially in that third quarter.”

3. Even though he couldn’t find a rhythm from distance, Young was drawing close to a triple-double before things went south for the Hawks in the fourth. He finished with a double-double of 28 points (10-22 FG, 2-11 from 3, 6-6 FT) and 10 assists, to go with seven rebounds. That officially puts him at 53 career games with 10-plus assists, which ties Stephon Marbury for the most in league history before reaching the age of 22 (Young is 21).

4. Beating the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center this season is no easy feat. With Monday’s win, their home record improves to a league-best 27-2 (their away record of 9-20 makes for quite the sharp contrast, which will add extra gravity to their playoff seed).

The Hawks have to face them once more in Philadelphia March 21. “They’re very good in this building,” said John Collins, who added 21 points and nine rebounds. “Always tough to come out strong on the road, so we just have to do a better job of coming out with some intensity. I feel like we turned it up later in the game. Not too late, we took the lead, but we’ve got to do a better job of finishing.”

5. In about 20 minutes, Bruno Fernando had 10 points and four rebounds and was a plus-2. He went 4-for-8 from the field and even added a 3-pointer, his first triple since Nov. 30. It was the best game in about a month for the rookie, who has played sparingly in February.

By the Numbers 

8-for-38 (or 21.1%, what the Hawks shot from 3-point range, 1.1% above their season low)

Quotable 

“We went down and we fought all the way back, so I put all the blame on us, every night. But especially tonight. Us fighting back and then losing, losing that grasp that we had on the game.” (Collins on the disappointment of letting the game slip away in the fourth)