ATLANTA -- The old adage says that three times a charm. However, there was but nothing charming about the Sixers’ third-quarter performance Friday night in Atlanta.
The Sixers watched a two-point advantage at halftime turn into an 11-point deficit midway through the third quarter in a 113-103 loss to open up their three-game road trip (see Instant Replay).
“I think where it stood out to me as far as the turning point, I didn’t think we started the third quarter very well at all,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “We came out and we give them credit, they jumped us, and from that point going forward they were far more the aggressor.”
“Our bench came in and got us back in it and showed great energy, but at that point you could feel the momentum was swinging. We give them credit. We didn’t do a great job of starting that second half.”
The Hawks used a 12-2 run to seize control in the third quarter. In the end, the Sixers were outscored 28-17 in the frame to go into the final quarter down by nine points.
“I think in the third quarter the ball just stuck,” said Thaddeus Young, who scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the loss. “We didn’t continue to move the ball around like we usually do.
“When we have quarters like that it is tough for us to get back into a game physically and mentally. We just have to get back to the flow of the game, the feel of the game and how we are used to playing.”
Things definitely bogged down for the Sixers after intermission. They had 21 assists in the game, but only seven of those came in the second half.
The Sixers were led in scoring by Evan Turner’s 27 points. Turner has scored at least 20 points in nine of the Sixers’ 10 games this season.
Spencer Hawes finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double this season.
However, it was the Hawks’ double-double man on this night that sealed the Sixers’ fate.
Jeff Teague scored a career-high 33 points to go along with 10 assists in Atlanta’s victory. He connected on 10 of 16 shots from the field and 12 of 13 from the free throw line.
“When you watch their games this year, you see they go to him a lot and you can see why they go to him a lot,” Brown said. “We tried different pick-and-roll schemes. He was really good tonight. He is a hard guard and he was at the rim a lot. We tried a bunch of different ways to defend him and not many worked.”
“Jeff is a tough handle,” Young said. “He is one of those guys who can do anything on the court besides post up. He can handle the ball. He can shoot threes. He can kill you going to the basket. He has a nice floater and he knows how to get into the bigs and make it difficult on us trying to block his shot.”
Teague came into the game averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 assists, both career highs.
While the Sixers knew the veteran Teague was a threat coming in, they likely didn’t expect the same from forward DeMarre Carroll. Carroll is playing for his fifth team in five seasons, but he felt right at home inside Philips Arena on Friday night.
Carroll scored 21 points in the game. He shot 8 of 14 from the field, including 5 of 8 from three-point range to give him 12 threes for the season. By comparison, he made just 20 three-pointers all of last season with the Utah Jazz.
“I think DeMarre Carroll has been a really good addition for them,” Brown said. “I remember talking to Bud (Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer) and him saying maybe he can be a Bruce Bowen-type. He can chase and use his length and play defense that way. And then if he can better his three-point range and be more efficient, and it looks like they have achieved that.
“His threes hurt us. Five for eight from behind the line was a great night for him.”
The Sixers continue their three-game road trip in New Orleans Saturday night when they face off against former teammate Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans.