- Gordie Jones For the AJC
PHILADELPHIA – This is no longer the city where losing streaks go to die.
Not with the Philadelphia 76ers now a viable NBA team, after four years of tanking. And not with the Hawks in the state they are in.
They dropped their seventh straight on Wednesday night, falling to the Sixers 119-109.
They did so despite rallying from an early 17-point deficit, despite seeing Dennis Schroder generate 25 points, despite some good work by Taurean Prince (17 points, 11 rebounds) and reserve Luke Babbitt (16 points).
The Hawks, who fell to an Eastern Conference-worst 1-7, saw the game slip away when they went scoreless the first 5:21 of the fourth quarter.
The Sixers, who won their third straight, didn’t exactly slam the door shut, scoring five points in that span to go up 98-93. But they continued to pull away, ultimately building a 111-98 lead with 2:54 left.
The Hawks didn’t have a fourth-quarter point until Kent Bazemore’s free throw with 6:39 left, and didn’t have a field goal in the period until Mike Muscala’s layup with 5:38 remaining. They shot 5-for-20 from the floor and were outscored 26-16 in the period.
Robert Covington scored 22 points to lead the Sixers, who moved to 4-4, the first time they have been at the .500 mark since they were also 4-4 on Nov. 11, 2013. Joel Embiid finished with 21, and rookie Ben Simmons finished with 19, along with 13 rebounds and nine assists.
The Sixers made their first six 3-point attempts, five coming as they opened leads of 25-8 and 27-10 early in the game. Atlanta then began attacking the basket with success, outscoring Philadelphia 32-16 on points in the paint in the half, including 20-10 in the second quarter.
Schroder was the main culprit. He scored 10 points as the Hawks sliced the deficit to 59-57 at the half, and his three-point play with 9:39 left in the third quarter gave Atlanta its first lead, 64-63.
Moments later the Hawks reeled off nine straight points, four of those by Taurean Prince, to go up 73-66.
The Sixers, however, drew even at 93-all by the end of the quarter.