Philadelphia (USA), Apr 30 (EFE) .- The great teamwork carried out by Australian point guard Ben Simmons, Cameroonian center Joel Embiid, and forward Tobias Harris, with 18 points each, allowed the Philadelphia Sixers easily beat the Atlanta Hawks 126-104 for their third consecutive win.
But it would be veteran center Dwight Howard, who came out of reserve, who would become the winning factor and sixth player by getting a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds as the leader in the paint.
The power of Howard, former Hawks player, allowed the Sixers to win them for the second consecutive game and placed with an aggregate mark of 42-21, the second best in the Eastern Conference, in the middle game of the Brooklyn Nets (43-21) who are leaders, despite losing 109-128 at home to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Point guard Trae Young scored 32 points on his return after a four-game absence due to an ankle injury, and Swiss center Clint Capela added a double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds as the Atlanta team leaders.
But the Hawks (34-30) lost the third consecutive game, and stayed in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Boston Celtics, and a half game ahead of the Miami Heat, who rest, in the fight for the leadership of the Southeast Division.
The 76ers will probably be sad to see the Hawks leave town.
In addition to the wins, the two games against Atlanta gave Embiid, Simmons and other key starters an extra break when they were not needed in the fourth quarter. It also provided additional minutes for the Sixers’ reserve players.
The Sixers defeated Atlanta 122-83 on Wednesday night in Philadelphia when they clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight season.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan spoke before Friday’s contest about his team’s need to come out with energy and urgency in the rematch.
The Hawks did it by scoring 13 of the first 15 points to take an initial lead of 11, but the Sixers edged Atlanta 21-13 in the final 7:21 minutes to give them a 26-23 run at the end of the period.
Philadelphia took control in the second quarter. Harris and Simmons dunked hard in a period of dominance by the Sixers, who edged Atlanta 42-20 to go 65-46 at halftime. Philadelphia made 15 of 28 shots in the fourth, while Atlanta missed 14 of 19.
(c) EFE Agency