For the first time in a long time, I am able to catch the 76ers game live tonight so I am going to break this game down with first and second half recaps.
First Half Analysis:
After 24 minutes of play, the same old tune is being played in Philadelphia tonight. While as impressive as the 76ers start to the season has been, once again they are struggling with a playoff caliber team. I will not hesitate to say the Atlanta Hawks have clearly outplayed the 76ers so far tonight.
Separated by just two picks in the 2009 NBA Draft, Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague were part of an extremely deep point guard class that included names like Ricky Rubio, Steph Curry, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, and Eric Maynor. While Holiday has been playing regularly and already has a full year of starting point guard duties under his belt, Teague is finally getting a chance to start this year, and so far tonight he is making Atlanta look pretty smart for letting go of veteran Mike Bibby this off-season (as if Mike Bibby’s play hasn’t made that clear already). After two quarters, Teague leads the Hawks with nine points, four assists, and five steals. Holiday has been no slouch either and leads all scorers with 10 points at the break.
The story of this game definitely lies in how both teams are shooting from the field. The Hawks finished the half shooting 50% including 2 of 5 from downtown; meanwhile, the 76ers are having one of their worst shooting performances of the year at 34.1% and have just made one of their seven three point attempts.
Another storyline to follow the rest of the game is the bench play for both teams. While the 76ers’ strong point lies in their assets off the bench, the Hawks have the edge in bench points 20-15.
While the Hawks do not appear to be missing Al Horford too much (4-0 without him), the 76ers are already 0-2 without Spencer Hawes in the middle and are in jeopardy of being handed a third loss.
Hawks lead 47-39. Check back later for an update with a final recap.
Talk about a tale of two halves. I will not hesitate to say the Atlanta Hawks Philadelphia 76ers have clearly outplayed the 76ers Hawks so far tonight. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t copy and paste that from my above commentary about tonight’s first half.
Whatever was said at halftime and whatever adjustments the 76ers made definitely threw the Hawks for a loop in the second half and preceded to a 90-76 blowout. A quick 76ers’ flurry of three pointers and highlight reel dunks in the third and a complete role reversal took place. All of a sudden, the 76ers were the team making all the big plays and the Hawks looked like a deer caught in headlights.
The 76ers outscored the Hawks 25-10 in the third quarter and it could’ve been worse if it weren’t for a Willie Green buzzer-beating three pointer to end the frame.
While I can sit here and try to figure out what went wrong for the Hawks and what the 76ers did right, I will sum it up with this: I was clearly wrong when I said the Hawks weren’t missing big-man Al Horford.
The 76ers emphatically outrebounded the Hawks 51-32, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds to the Hawks’ three.
Thad Young led the 76ers with 20 points off the bench and both Holiday (16 points, 11 assists) and Elton Brand (10 points, 16 rebounds) finished with double-doubles. The 76ers have had at least five players score in double figures in 13 of their 15 games this season and have seven players averaging double-digit points. What makes this even more impressive is that the 76ers do not have a single player averaging more than 16 PPG and have not had a 30-point scorer yet this season.
Tomorrow, however, will be the big test with a showdown and rematch of last year’s first round of the playoffs with the Miami Heat in Miami. No word on whether Dwyane Wade will suit up.
Worth Mentioning: Andre Iguodala picked up his 1000th steal of his career and now is fifth all-time in the history of the 76ers.
About the Author
Written by Mike Rapine
Graduated last year from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Mathematics with a focus in Statistics. I was a member of their baseball team and overall have a sense of sports from not just the average fan's perspective. Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where we fall in love with our sports teams each year, despite the preconceptions of a playoff demise ultimately happening. Obviously, any opinions are personal in nature and should be taken as my own.