Game Recap – Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers

Jan 7, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith (1) goes for a layup during the first quarter of the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith (1) goes for a layup during the first quarter of the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports /

Turnovers by Philadelphia 76ers lead to another big loss, but also features a new face for the team

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After such a big game on Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers came out flat against the Atlanta Hawks and lost big. It was such a momentous game on Monday, when the Sixers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, that fans of the team thought a turning point had arrived, signalling competitive games going forward but alas, issues from the beginning of the season reared their ugly heads again.

The Sixers actually started off on the right foot in this game. The entire team had energy and hustle putting the Hawks on their heels for most of the first quarter. The starters played together very well, showing a fluidity that has come around only rarely for this team, and Richaun Holmes continued playing well off the bench acting as an additional spark plug. The Sixers could not use this momentum to finish out the quarter, however, as the Hawks were able to end the quarter leading by one point with a mini run.

Everything fell apart in the second quarter for the Philadelphia 76ers when the Atlanta Hawks pulled themselves together and punished the Sixers. Continuing the run that they had to end the first, Atlanta went on a 17-0 run to create separation. Like games earlier in the season, tonight’s offense became stagnant and predictable.  Familiar problems like dumping the ball down to Jahlil Okafor only to have the Sixers just standing around watching and Coach Brown continuing to use Isaiah Canaan as a point guard, where his lack of court awareness and ball handling stops the Sixers offense in its tracks still show up. The Sixers were outscored 39-23 in the quarter, a huge hole to climb out of.

No progress was made in the third quarter, even despite going on a 15-2 run in the middle of the period. After giving the fans in the building hope, built on exciting and-1 plays from Jah and Jerami Grant, Philly gave up a 9-0 run to the Hawks. Sloppy play was the perpetrator with 8 turnovers being committed by the team in the quarter.

The final frame was already decided by the previous three, with the Sixers unable to overcome the deficit they put themselves in. Early in the fourth, the Sixers went down by as many as thirty points after a Dennis Schroder 3-pointer and even as many as 35 after a Shelvin Mack basket.

Overall if you want to see how Atlanta was able to throttle the Sixers, just look at the fastbreak points given up and turnovers committed, which do go hand-in-hand. The Hawks forced the Sixers into 22 turnovers and also outscored the Sixers 33-15 on fastbreak points. It was a very sloppy play tonight in contrast to Philly fans belief that the team had finally cleaned up their act after acquiring Ish Smith. It looks like the team still has to put an emphasis on taking care of the ball to keep games tight.

Next: Why Philadelphia 76ers Fans Should Hope The Lakers Win Tonight vs The Sacramento Kings

Player of the Game

None of the on-court players gave a special performance, however a new face was featured pregame from Alaa Abdelnaby and Marc Zumoff. Shane Battier was in the building as a special guest to the team, with the commentators saying that he will be brought on as a consultant. Similar to how they have Elton Brand, Shane will give guidance to the players and will be another role model to emulate, though he will not be travelling with the team like Brand will be as a player.

It’s clear with Jerry Colangelo in the front office that having the right people around the team has become a higher priority. Under Sam Hinkie, veterans and ex-players were not even considered, as he’d want to use every roster spot for as many young players as possible. With Carl Landry and Elton Brand on the team, and Shane also having a voice, the right players will be in the youngster’s ears continually.

This is a great idea, but Hinkie could have done a compromise to help his vision: Why not use all of the roster spots on young players, but hire ex-players as assistants? We see it around the league, such as Juwan Howard with the Miami Heat and Steve Nash as a consultant with the Golden State Warriors starting this year. There is no salary cap for coaching positions, so the front office should be able to surround the players with as many good role models who used to play in the league as they want.

Nonetheless, the elder statesmen currently associated with the Sixers are all known to be high-caliber people, not only players. Their words will have weight in the locker room.

Looking Ahead

The Toronto Raptors come to Philly to play the 76ers this coming Saturday. Philly native Kyle Lowry comes back to town, where the Sixers will be waiting to get a win.