Bazemore scores 22, Hawks rout 76ers to snap two-game skid

Kent Bazemore scored 22 points while Paul Millsap and Al Horford combined for 39 as Atlanta dominated Philadelphia 126-98 on Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA — When the Philadelphia 76ers went on a 13-0 run in the third quarter to get back into the game, Kent Bazemore wasn’t worried.

He knew it was his turn to take over.

Bazemore scored 22 points, Paul Millsap and Al Horford had 18 apiece and the Atlanta Hawks blew out the 76ers 126-98 on Thursday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

Bazemore had nine points and two steals over the final 3:12 of the third quarter to help the Hawks turn an 11-point lead into a 21-point advantage.

Atlanta poured it on from there, surging to a 35-point lead en route to its most lopsided win of the season.

"A lot of things went right for me there," Bazemore said. "It's not like that every night but as long as my effort's consistent, I think I'll be able to make a few plays here and there."

Dennis Schroder added 14 points off the bench, including 10 in the first 3:16 of the fourth quarter. The Hawks shot 53 per cent from the field and 42 per cent from 3-point range against the NBA's worst team.

Atlanta had assists on 36 of its 49 baskets, with 12 players recording one. The Hawks are the only team this season with at least 36 assists in multiple games.

"I thought the ball really moved," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "There were some possessions where it just kept moving from one side to the other. When we play like that, that's when we're at our best."

Rookie Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 21 points, while Nerlens Noel had nine points and 13 rebounds. Recently acquired point guard Ish Smith finished with 12 points and seven assists.

The Hawks forced the Sixers into 22 turnovers, including 10 in the third quarter. Atlanta finished with 33 fast-break points.

"We played with no spirit tonight," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "We played with no fight tonight. . I give them a lot of credit in how they shared and moved the ball, but I thought that our defence was poor."

After the Sixers jumped ahead by six late in the first quarter, the Hawks took control with an 18-1 run to lead 36-22. Mike Scott scored nine points during the stretch, including a 3-pointer to beat the first-quarter buzzer after four sharp passes in five seconds threw the Philly defence off balance.

The Hawks built their lead to 17 by halftime, before Bazemore took charge in the pivotal third quarter.

"I thought Baze, the last four or five minutes of the third quarter, was everywhere," Budenholzer said. "He was making plays defensively and on the offensive end of the court."


Atlanta avoided its third three-game losing streak of the season. The Hawks only had two such streaks last season en route to earning the top seed in the East.

"A two-game losing streak is not fun," Budenholzer said. "Really good teams and teams with a lot of pride and character, you don't ever want to catch them after one loss. We weren't able to kind of turn it the other night but tonight we did."


The biggest cheer of the night came midway through the first quarter when Smith's behind-the-back pass in transition found Noel, who dished it to a streaking Okafor for a slam.

Smith also got the crowd revved with a couple of alley-oops to Noel. But the Sixers couldn't push their record above .500 with Smith in the lineup, falling to 3-4 since they acquired the crafty point guard on Dec. 24. Before that deal, they were 1-30.


Hawks: Atlanta has won nine of its last 10 games vs. Philly. ... Kyle Korver, who spent his first four-plus seasons in the league with the Sixers, got a standing ovation from Philly fans before the game.

76ers: Elton Brand, who was signed earlier this week to provide Philly with much-needed leadership, did not make his NBA debut as some expected. But the 17-year NBA vet sat on the bench in street clothes and, according to Brown, gave Noel and Okafor tips on how to defend Millsap, Brand's teammate in Atlanta the last two seasons. ... Shane Battier, who retired in 2014 after 13 NBA seasons, was invited to be the Sixers' guest for the day. Brown said the visit was "about reaching out to basketball people and trying to pick their brain."


Hawks: Host Chicago on Saturday

76ers: Host Toronto on Saturday