THE FACTS: That first game coming off a long road trip can be hard. The Atlanta Hawks learned just how hard Wednesday night at Philips Arena, but found a way to get by, knocking off the stubborn Philadelphia 76ers 107-96.
Jeff Teague scored 27 points and added 11 assists for Atlanta (34-26), while Al Horford added 21 with 11 points and six assists. Anthony Tolliver came off the bench to score 21 as the Hawks overcame a sluggish start. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and a six-game streak against the Sixers (23-37), including a two-game streak at Philips. The win kept the Hawks a half-game behind Brooklyn for the fifth playoff spot in the East.
Former Hawk Damien Wilkens came off the bench to score 21 to lead the Sixers, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games and dropped their 11th straight road game. Wilkins and Dorell Wright, who added 20, led Philadelphia's bench. The reserves contributed 59 points: 22 more than Philadelphia's starters scored.
The Sixers, who were playing their eight game in 12 days, scored the game's first eight points as Atlanta started 0-for-6 with four turnovers in the first 4:58. But, after a timeout, the Hawks came alive, tying the game by the 4:10 mark and closing the quarter on a 12-5 run to take a 26-19 lead after 12 minutes. They'd never trail again, leading by 12 at the half and by 21 after three. The Sixers cut the lead to three on two occasions in the third quarter but would never shoot for tie and Atlanta cruised home, leading by double-digits the entire fourth quarter.
QUOTABLE: "The first game coming back from a road trip is always a tough game. It certainly was tonight. We had some guys that were tired. I'm proud of the fact that they pushed through."
— Atlanta Coach Larry Drew
THE STAT: 37 -- Atlanta only got scoring from three players off its bench — Tolliver, Kyle Korver and rookie John Jenkins — yet scored 37 points, as many points as Philadelphia's starting five. The Hawks' trio shot 56.5 percent (13-for-23), to 37.5 for Philly's starters (15-for-40).
TURNING POINT: A pair of back-to-back possessions in the third quarter had the 76ers experiencing a terrible feeling of deja vu. With 6:22 left, the 76ers got a pair of Wright free throws to cut Atlanta's 12-point halftime lead to three, 66-63. On the ensuing possession, Atlanta worked the ball to Teague, who drilled a jumper from the foul line at the right elbow. About a minute later, after a Jrue Holiday basket again cut the lead to three, Teague got the ball at the exact same spot. This time, he jab-stepped to get some space, then put up another jumper, which again was nothing but net. This time, there would be no response from the Sixers, who would miss their next five shots and turn the ball over once over the next four minutes as Atlanta went on an 11-0 run to raise the lead to 16. It would hit 21 by quarter's end and would never get closer than 10 in the fourth.
QUOTABLE II: "We usually do a good job of defending the 3, but tonight they hurt us from out there, especially Anthony Tolliver. We were tired but I don't wan to use tang excuse. I just didn't think we had much zip tonight."
— Sixers Coach Doug Collins
HOT: Tolliver went 5-for-7 from 3, with several of them being momentum-changers. He went 4-for-5 in the second quarter, including 3-for-4 from long range. Two of those 3s were came in the final 2:30 and both followed Philadelphia baskets. The first came after Philly cut the lead to 10. The second after the lead was cut to nine. Tolliver would hit another big 3 in the third quarter, this time, pushing the lead from five to eight as part of the decisive 11-0 run. Of the five 3s Tolliver hit, three came following Philadelphia baskets, the other two fueled Hawks runs. Tolliver was 0-for-2 in seven minutes of action in the team's first meeting this season.
NOT: Philadelphia's starting back court struggled all night. The duo of former Hawk Royal Ivey and Holiday were ice cold, scoring a combined 11 points, all from Holiday, on 3-for-15 shooting.. In the first half, they especially struggled, scoring two points (on Holiday first quarter free throws) on 0-for-9 shooting. Holiday scored seven points and added four assists in the fourth, while Ivey only got in the scorebook with two turnovers and five fouls. To make matters worse, Atlanta's back court scored 33 points with 13 assists. Teague had 13 points by himself in the first half, shooting 6-for-8.
QUOTABLE III: "My teammates did a great job of finding me whenever I was open."
— Anthony Tolliver
ROOKIE WATCH: To celebrate his 22nd birthday, Jenkins played 13:30, scoring seven points on 2-for-5 shooting, 1-for-3 from 3. Arnett Moultrie, who played against Jenkins while at Mississippi State (Jenkins played at Vanderbilt) had 20 points, on 6-for-16 shooting, 3-for-8 from 3 and 5-for-6 from the line. He added nine rebounds (all on the defensive end), three steals and an assist. He had nine of his points on 4-for-6 shooting, 1-for-1 from 3, in the final quarter.
GOOD MOVE: With the Hawks struggling offensively to start the game, coach Drew went away from his speed game and inserted Korver for Devin Harris. The move, intended to spread the floor, had the desired effect as the Hawks went on a 9-2 run over the next 2:40 to get back in the game.
NOTABLE: Tolliver's five 3-pointers marked a new career high. His career best was four on three previous occasions, while his season high for 3s was three against Sacramento on Feb. 22. His seven field goals also were a season-best. He had five against Cleveland on Dec. 28. ...Atlanta went 11-for-24 from 3 (45.8 percent). It was the Hawks' 24th game with at least 10 3s. Korver, the NBA's leading 3-point shooter made only one of those 3s, but it kept alive his streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer,a franchise-best 53 games. ....Philadelphia held a 48-38 edge on the boards, including a 16-10 edge on the offensive glass. ...Holiday recorded his 12th double-double of the season, with 11 points and game-high 12 assists.
UP NEXT: For the 76ers, Friday @ Miami, Sunday @ Orlando, Monday vs. Brooklyn. For the Hawks, Friday @ Boston, Saturday vs. Brooklyn, Tuesday @ Miami.