Instant Replay: Sixers 101, Hawks 90

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Instant Replay: Sixers 101, Hawks 90

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA -- The Sixers entered Friday’s game against the Hawks intent on redeeming themselves for Wednesday night’s loss to the league-worst Bobcats.

The Sixers did just that by rolling to a 101-90 victory over the Hawks. The Sixers’ record stands at 31-44 with seven games remaining in the regular season.

Turning point
The Sixers came out of the locker room strong in the third quarter. They quickly grew their 13-point halftime lead to 19 with 7:38 to go in the quarter.

Through three quarters, the Sixers led the playoff-bound Hawks by 18 points.

Follow the leader
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Spencer Hawes had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 19 points, while Al Horford scored 18.

Stat-egic
The Sixers scored 40 points in the first quarter on 16-of-22 shooting. The 40 points were their highest total of any quarter this season and their 73 percent shooting was also a season high.

They also had 10 assists in the quarter after having 16 for the entire game on Wednesday.

Take a bow
Thaddeus Young made his first six shots and finished with his 20th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Young finished the game 6 of 9 from the field.

Health check
Dorell Wright did not play because of a right elbow contusion that he suffered in the Sixers’ game last Saturday against the Bobcats. He has fluid in the elbow that is causing him pain.

Wright did play in Wednesday’s loss and was 5 of 9 from the floor for 14 points. He is a game-time decision for Saturday’s matchup in Miami.

What’s next?
The Sixers will face the Heat on Saturday night.

This game was circled on plenty of calendars a short while ago when the Heat were on their lengthy win streak and it appeared that the record-tying number of 33 straight could come against the Sixers.

Now, there is a good chance that the Sixers could face an entirely different version of the Heat as Miami continues to rest players for the postseason. LeBron James (strained right hamstring) and Dwyane Wade (sprained right ankle) have not played since March 29.

The Heat still have a 10-game lead on the Knicks for first place in the Eastern Conference. They also have four fewer losses than the Spurs and are in good position to have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Bryan Colangelo on Joel Embiid setback: 'We're reacting in a way that's proactive'

Bryan Colangelo on Joel Embiid setback: 'We're reacting in a way that's proactive'

The timetable for Joel Embiid's return to the court keeps getting murkier.

Embiid was ruled out indefinitely on Monday and will now have an MRI on his injured left knee (see story). He initially suffered a bone bruise on Jan. 20 and it was revealed on Feb. 11 that he had a minor meniscal tear.

The Sixers previously had a plan of rest and rehab in place and targeted a March 4 return for the big man. 

"With respect to what's developed over the last couple of days, it's quite simple, Joel developed a little bit of swelling and soreness," Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said during Monday's edition of Philly Sports Talk. "We're reacting in a way that's proactive. We wanted to be more communicative with our fans. We wanted to make sure that there's less question about whether or not he would be available. This is literally changing out for the next two games now to out indefinitely."

That's a quick change of events. As recently as Friday, Embiid was on track to be back in uniform this week.

"I was in a situation where the latest update on Friday was that he was doing well through his planned progression toward returning to play," Colangelo said. "In recent days, his training has developed a reaction with swelling and soreness, and thus we wanted to take a step back, put him on ice for a minute and make sure that we do everything possible, including getting another scan done."

Embiid initially suffered the injury against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 20. The rookie sensation missed three games before coming back vs. the Houston Rockets in a national TV matchup on Jan. 27. He has missed all 13 games since facing the Rockets.

Even with Embiid’s diagnosed tear of his meniscus and recent flaring up of the knee after rehab sessions, the Sixers are being supremely cautious when it comes to any potential procedures. The team is not in a rush to put the center back under the knife after he missed the first two seasons of his career because of a pair of foot surgeries.

"With all due respect, medical injuries are injuries that require care and attention," Colangelo said. "When I take information that comes from the medical team, including doctors and the training staff and the physiotherapists, we apply it as instructed and we do that to protect the athlete. In a case of jumping into someone's knee to operate, when the circumstances are known but the conditions and how he's reacting to certain things are still unknown, I think you go through the planned progression of steps as prescribed and evaluated by doctors."

The quick decision to label Embiid out indefinitely is a sharp contrast to prior updates on the phenom. Just last week, Embiid lamented how the Sixers never announced a true timetable for his return (see story).

Now just days later, Embiid has a prognosis that could technically keep him out for the remainder of the regular season. 

Embiid has proven his worth in 31 games this season by averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25.4 minutes a night. But with only 23 games left on the schedule, will he suit up again this season?

"Out indefinitely means just that. It's indeterminate at this point," Colangelo said. "I think we're all hopeful to get him out there. It would be beneficial for the fans to see him again. It would be great for us as a unit to have him out there as we continue to strive toward winning as the season concludes.

"But at the end of the day, the health and performance of our athletes is first and foremost. We don't want to jeopardize the long-term health."

Sixers waive big man Andrew Bogut

Sixers waive big man Andrew Bogut

To no surprise, Andrew Bogut is not part of the process.

The veteran big man, acquired in the Nerlens Noel trade last week, was waived by the Sixers on Monday night.

The Vertical's Shams Charania and ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the news of both parties agreeing to a contract buyout.

Bogut was included in the Sixers-Mavericks deal that sent Noel to Dallas in exchange for the 32-year-old center, Justin Anderson and a top-18 protected first-round pick (which will likely turn into two second-round picks).

Bogut will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Per a report Sunday by ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Bogut was set on joining Clevelend once a contract buyout with the Sixers was finalized. Bogut will have discussions with the Cavaliers, Spurs, Celtics and Rockets before making his decision, according to Stein's report.

Bogut played 26 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 3.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.