- Gordie Jones Special to the AJC
PHILADELPHIA – With the Hawks amid a mid-game hot streak Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, Taurean Prince collected the ball on the right wing and plowed to the rim.
Joel Embiid – all 7-2 of him -- was waiting, but no matter. Prince attacked, drew a foul and for a moment the two men were entangled near the stanchion.
Nothing more than hard stares were exchanged, but it was illustrative of what the second-year forward hopes to bring to the table.
“He’s a competitor,” Prince said of Embiid. “I’m a competitor, too. I’m with anything, if it comes down to it, especially for my teammates.”
The Hawks, down 17 early, went up seven in the third quarter. Everything melted away in a disastrous fourth quarter, however, and the Sixers emerged with a 119-109 victory.
“I think we could have definitely executed a lot better than we did,” Prince said after his 17-point, 11-rebound effort. “I think it’s more on us. It’s more on the players. The coaches did a good job, putting us in position and putting the right people out there. Especially for myself, I’ve got to know when not to take bad shots, when to do certain things.”
He shot just 2-for-9 and scored nine points (albeit with seven boards) in the second half. And in the fourth quarter he missed his only attempt from the floor while managing two points, as the Hawks were outscored 26-16.
“It’s part of growing,” Prince said. “We’re getting there.”
Coach Mike Budenholzer agreed.
“I feel like we got better tonight,” he said, adding that he likes the way his team competed after falling behind 25-8 and 27-10 out of the gate.
“Both ends of the court, as the game went on, we gave ourselves a chance,” Budenholzer added. “Credit to Philly, they made more plays then we did in the fourth quarter. I feel like we got better overall.”