The Philadelphia 76ers weren't pleased with the way they performed late in Thursday night's game against the Detroit Pistons. As Sixers star center Joel Embiid was highly critical of his team's overall performance before facing the Atlanta Hawks, the Sixers knew they had to really bring it on Saturday to silence the growing criticism surrounding them.
Right out of the gate, the Sixers looked refreshed. Although they didn't shoot the ball relatively well, Philly got off to a 28-15 lead in the first quarter. By the time halftime rolled around, the Sixers were up 60-46.
Knowing they had to keep the ball rolling, Philly had another strong showing coming out of halftime as they outscored the Hawks by six points. With a lead as big as 22 points before the final quarter, the Sixers just had to avoid last year's woes against Atlanta and keep their foot on the gas.
They did just that with another strong showing in the fourth quarter. As the Sixers led by as many as 33 points, it was evident that Atlanta started waving the white flag as they emptied their bench. Shortly after, the Sixers followed before eventually securing a 122-94 victory, helping them advance to 4-2 on the year.
As a team, the Sixers played a stellar game. Now, let's observe individual performances.
Doc Rivers said before the game he was the least bit concerned with Danny Green's shooting struggles to start the year. He didn't get up too many shots on Saturday, but he managed to knock down two of his three attempts from the field. All of which came from beyond the arc. He hasn't had a breakout game yet this season, but it seems he's working on getting his groove back offensively.
The veteran forward was easily the best player on the floor Saturday night. In 31 minutes of action, he secured a double-double by collecting 22 points and 10 rebounds. Harris has played very well so far to start the season, and he continued to shine in Saturday night's outing.
Embiid was cleared for action early on in the day, which was a good sign considering he's been a game-time decision for the last four games. Coming off of a 30-point game against Detroit, Embiid didn't top his season-high on Saturday, but he played well enough to help his team get the job done. He finished with 19 points off of 13 shots and collected five rebounds.
Going into Saturday's game, Curry was shooting 62-percent from the field and 65-percent from deep. The veteran sharpshooter continued to be highly efficient for the Sixers on Saturday. Taking nine total shots, Curry drained 56-percent of his attempts, with two of his four three-point attempts going in. He finished the night with 15 points.
Saturday was one of Maxey's best outings of the year. He was expected to have his hands full with Trae Young on the defensive end, but he held his own. Offensively, Maxey knocked down six of his eight shots from the field and went 3-3 from the charity stripe, collecting 16 points.
Before the game on Saturday, Doc Rivers confirmed Milton was on a minutes restriction as he recovers from an ankle sprain. The veteran guard checked in for just under 19 minutes and collected 11 points and two assists on offense. As a team, the Sixers didn't shoot all that well from three, and Milton's struggles contributed to that. From deep, he hit on just one of his six three-point attempts. Considering he's returning from a multi-week absence, Milton is expected to show some rust here and there for the time being.
The veteran forward has been an excellent addition to the Sixers this season. Rivers toyed with his lineups a bit and allowed Niang to run with different groups. Shooting-wise, he struggled as he knocked down just one of his six attempts from deep. As mentioned above, though, the Sixers weren't solid from three as a whole. Niang has proven to be a reliable shooter, so Saturday's game was more of a fluke.
Thybulle's defense has been fantastic this year, as expected. Offensively, he's been extremely quiet. On Saturday, he had more of an impact on that side of the ball, though. He was less hesitant from three and attempted a few shots from deep. Although he only knocked down one of his three-point attempts, Thybulle finished the game with 11 points. He also had a game-high of four steals and put together a sweet highlight reel of blocks. Overall, Thybulle was extremely solid on Saturday.
Point guard Furkan Korkmaz was a fun experiment for the Sixers. As he retreats back to his typical role, the Turkish sharpshooter sees fewer shots. On Saturday, Korkmaz just couldn't get it going during his limited time on the floor. In 18 minutes of action, he missed all three of his deep shots and collected just four points.
After getting off to a hot start to the year, Drummond's been relatively quiet lately. However, he had a nice bounce-back game after a disappointing showing against his former franchise. In 13 minutes, Drummond drained four of his six field-goal attempts for eight points and collected five total rebounds.
As Shake Milton returned to the lineup this week, Isaiah Joe found himself knocked out of the Sixers' rotation. It wasn't surprising, considering the second-year guard struggled to find his shot after a hot preseason. Due to Philly's ability to get a significant lead over the Hawks, Joe found some minutes on Saturday. Although he garnered just a four-minute shift, the former Arkansas standout made the best of that time on the floor as he drained two of his three attempts for five points. While he likely won't find himself back in the rotation after making the most of his garbage time, Joe proved to his coaching staff once again that he can heat up when given the opportunity.