Ben Simmons, Sixers Run Shorthanded Hawks Off the Floor
The Sixers came out running and then hid.
Led by Ben Simmons, the Sixers got off to a fast start and didn’t look back in a 127-83 blowout of the shorthanded Hawks at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday. It was the largest margin of victory for the Sixers this season.
The win moves them to 41-21, one game behind the Nets for the one seed, and also clinches a playoff spot.
Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic were among six players out of the lineup for Atlanta. The Sixers took full advantage of the Hawks being undermanned, winning the first quarter, 37-17. Simmons was everywhere, posting six points, four assists and two steals in the opening period.
Simmons got the Sixers out on the break with the biggest beneficiary being Seth Curry. Curry scored 13 of his 15 first-half points in the first quarter, including three threes.
Even with Simmons getting into foul trouble late in the half, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris took the game over after somewhat slow starts. Clint Capela held Embiid to just five points in the first quarter. Then Embiid got it going, scoring 10 in the second. Harris stuffed the stat sheet in the first half, recording eight points, five assists and four rebounds.
The Sixers took a 28-point lead – their largest margin of the half – into the locker room. Atlanta shot just 33.3 percent from the field and 1 of 9 from three.
It was more of the same in the third as Simmons kept the pressure on the Hawks and allowed the Sixers to extend their lead to as much as 33.
A strong bench effort allowed the starters to take the fourth quarter off for the second night in a row. Shake Milton (12 points, six assists), George Hill (seven points, six rebounds, three assists) and Furkan Korkmaz (12 points) led the way offensively. Matisse Thybulle did an outstanding job defending veteran Danilo Gallinari and holding him to just 1 of 9 from the field.
Curry led the way for the Sixers, pouring in 20 points. Embiid and Harris finished with 17 apiece – Harris also had seven rebounds and six assists. Simmons played just 15 minutes but recorded eight points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. He also had just one turnover.
The only moment of excitement in the fourth quarter was when the Hawks’ Kris Dunn oddly got in the way as Thybulle and Milton were attempting to high five after a nice connection on a lob. While there was some shoving, it didn’t get too messy and ended with Dunn picking up a technical foul.
The Sixers conclude their two-game series against the Hawks Friday. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the chippiness carries over.