By Lewis Gould
It’s one thing to take two games in a row and three of four and edge ahead of the truly awful New York Knicks.
But the Sixers came back to earth.
With a thud!
Al Horford had his first career triple-double, scoring 21 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to their ninth straight win, 105-87 over the Sixers on Tuesday night at the Wells.
The Hawks easily thumped the Sixers even while resting 60 percent of their starting lineup. Leading scorer Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll all sat out with the team in a stretch of four games in five nights.
The Hawks have won 23 of 25 and also won their ninth straight road game. They are in first place this late in the season for the first time since they won the East in 1993-94.
Kent Bazemore scored 17 points and Kyle Korver had 15. The Hawks made 12 of 23 3-pointers
Michael Carter-Williams (photo above) scored 20 points for the Sixers.
The Sixers played with the Hawks for a bit and had the game tied at 33-all as late as the 6-minute mark in the second quarter. Short-handed or not, the Hawks then cranked up the offensive volume and proved why they just might be the team to beat in the East this season.
Korver showed his former team why he’s the best 3-point shooter in the league. He made one 3 late in the first half for a 43-35 lead, followed with another on the next possession, then watched as Mike Scott buried his own 3 to send the Hawks into halftime up 49-37.
The Hawks used those three 3s in the final 1:13 of the half to help turn a five-point lead into a rout. They are on their second nine-game winning streak of the season.
Shelvin Mack’s 3 late in the third helped stretch the lead to 21 points and the Hawks rested about the entire starting lineup for most of the fourth quarter. Mack had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Horford added six points with three assists and three rebounds in the third.
K.J. McDaniels scored 14 for the Sixers. Guard Tony Wroten did not return after he sprained his right knee. The lowly Sixers had won three of four and zipped past New York in the Eastern Conference standings.