Teague too much for Sixers in road loss to Hawks

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Teague too much for Sixers in road loss to Hawks

BOX SCORE

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.

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

MIAMI -- Dion Waiters' 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left capped his 33-point effort, and the Miami Heat beat Golden State 105-102 on Monday night to end the Warriors' seven-game winning streak.

The Heat wasted a 10-point lead in the final 4 minutes, and Kevin Durant tied the game on a dunk with 11.7 seconds left. With no timeouts, Waiters walked the ball up the court and drilled what became the game-winner over Klay Thompson.

Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer as time expired for the Warriors (see full recap).

Rivers, Crawford lead Clippers past Hawks
ATLANTA -- Austin Rivers scored 27 points and Jamal Crawford broke out of a shooting slump with 19, helping the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 on Monday night.

Crawford had eight points in the fourth quarter, including a driving basket after Atlanta cut the Clippers' lead from 24 to five points.

Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with 25 points. Dennis Schroder had 21, and Dwight Howard added 16 points and 12 rebounds (see full recap).

Wizards beat Hornets behind Wall’s 24
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- John Wall firmly believes the Washington Wizards are a good team with plenty of playoff potential.

The key, he said, "is we just got to believe it every time we step on the court."

Wall had 24 points and seven assists, and the Wizards looked plenty confident as they continued their run up the Eastern Conference standings with a 109-99 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (see full recap).

Kings snap skid with win over Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

Ty Lawson added 19 points and helped Sacramento turn the game around with a strong second quarter. Lawson scored nine points in the second, and the Kings outscored the Pistons 37-24 in the period to take a 65-62 lead into halftime.

A 3-pointer by Lawson put Sacramento up 101-90 in the fourth, and the Kings held on from there to stop Detroit's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Jones, Holiday lead Pelicans past Cavs
NEW ORLEANS -- Terrence Jones filled in brilliantly for injured All-Star Anthony Davis, scoring a season-high 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking LeBron James' dunk attempt in the fourth quarter, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-122 on Monday night.

Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, and Langston Galloway capped a 12-point night with a clean steal on James' drive in the final minute, preventing the Cavs from erasing a deficit they had trimmed from 22 late in the first half to three with 1:32 left in the game.

Kyrie Irving scoring 35 of his 49 points in the second half, but the Cleveland fell to its fifth loss in seven games. James had 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds (see full recap).

Without Joel Embiid, Brett Brown eager to see if Sixers can protect the rim

Without Joel Embiid, Brett Brown eager to see if Sixers can protect the rim

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers have been challenged by playing without Joel Embiid in one of two games in a back-to-back series all season. Now they will have to do it in at least the next two straight games. 

“We’re going to be without him tomorrow (against the Clippers) and in Milwaukee and we’ll go from there,” Brett Brown said after practice Monday. 

Embiid, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, suffered a left knee contusion in Friday’s win over the Trail Blazers. He did not travel with the team to Atlanta on Saturday for the back-to-back series. 

Brown called the decision “precautionary.” Embiid did not practice Monday but took some light shots after. He was pre-scheduled to sit out Wednesday against the Bucks in accordance with his limitations for consecutive games. Embiid is reportedly expected to return Friday against the Rockets.

The standout rookie leaves a glaring hole on the court when he misses games. The Sixers are 2-10 when he does not play. For all the ways Embiid dominates at the basket (22.4 points over the last 10 games), there is an obvious difference on the defensive end without him. 

“It’s still about our defense, it’s still about running, it’s still about sharing the ball,” Brown said. “I think you go with Jahlil (Okafor) and Nerlens (Noel) and challenge them in relation to rim protection and what Joel provides us. The group around them also has got to perform at a higher level when you don’t have Joel. I think that second group that we have been playing, led by Nerlens, really can take on a far greater defensive identity than it has recently, and Nerlens will be the captain of that.”

This is a time when the Sixers’ logjam at the five-spot actually helps them. Brown still has three true centers to turn to, in addition to power forwards Ersan Ilyasova and Dario Saric, whom he could slide into the position if they go small. Brown sees a silver lining for his bigs in the uphill battle of playing without Embiid. 

“It definitely hurts the team, how can we spin it any other way?” Brown said. “But like anything, you’re going to now look at Nerlens and Jahlil. This is fantastic for those two. It could prove, based on some things, Richaun (Holmes) sees daylight a little bit. 

“There aren’t many teams, I would suspect, that have the ability to roll out three young guys when somebody like Joel goes down and look forward to watching them develop more, look forward to giving them the opportunity to play NBA minutes.”

Okafor has been receiving the start when Embiid is out. (He has been out of the rotation when Embiid does play.) Okafor, though, is dealing with right knee soreness he experienced on Saturday. The Sixers kept an eye on him Monday and held him out of 5-on-5 drills in practice. Okafor said the team was being cautious, and he wanted to rest his knee given the number of games coming up. He is listed as probable against the Clippers.

“It was bothering me a little bit in the warmup lines, I started to feel it. When I got going, it started feeling really good, then when I sat out for an extended period, it got kind of sore on me again,” Okafor explained. “Today they were trying to make sure I could get back to being 100 percent because they knew that my knee was bothering me. They haven’t really told me what the plan was for tomorrow. Today was really focused on getting me back to being healthy.”

The Clippers are shorthanded, as well. Blake Griffin has been sidelined since Dec. 18 because of a right knee procedure and Chris Paul had surgery to repair a ligament tear in his left thumb. Griffin could make his return against the Sixers.

Embiid's honor
Embiid's Player of the Week honor is rare for a rookie. He's only the third Sixers rookie ever to win it, joining Allen Iverson and Michael Carter-Williams.

The last Sixer before Embiid to be named Eastern Conference Player of the Week was Thaddeus Young in January 2014.

The Sixers won all three games Embiid played last week. He averaged 22.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks.