PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The young, high-flying Atlanta Hawks are maturing rapidly.
Atlanta improved to 3-5 on the road this season and 28-104 overall under coach Mike Woodson.
“When you’re talking about making the playoffs, it’s very important to win on the road,” Woodson said.
The Hawks haven’t been in the playoffs since the 1998-99 season.
For now, it was a positive step just to win a road game in an arena where they have struggled for several years.
“Since I’ve been an Atlanta Hawk, we haven’t won here in three years,” Smith said. “It feels real good because it’s a tough place to play with a difficult environment.”
Willie Green scored a season-high 23 points while Andre Miller added 18 for the Sixers (5-12), who lost for the 10th time in the last 13 games. Andre Iguodala and Kyle Korver scored 11 points each while Reggie Evans and Samuel Dalembert both had 10 rebounds.
“I thought it was kind of a flat game in the beginning,” Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
Philadelphia was 2-of-11 from 3-point range. Over the last three games, the Sixers have hit just 5-of-37 3-pointers, including an 0-for-14 effort in last Friday’s one-point win over Washington.
“We’ve got to find a way to put the ball in the hoop,” Korver said. “We’re just not able to get good shots.”
The Hawks led 66-62 after the third quarter and extended their lead to nine on several occasions.
Atlanta led 79-72 before Childress hit a 3-pointer from the baseline and Johnson converted a three-point play for an 85-72 lead with 1:41 remaining.
Woodson pointed to his team’s defense during the key 6-0 run.
“We’ve been playing good defense in the fourth quarters,” he said. “Tonight we made a stance in the third quarter and it carried over into the fourth.”
Green was 7-for-7 from the field in the second quarter and scored 16 points, as the Sixers overcame a seven-point deficit to take a 46-45 halftime lead.
Smith’s 3-pointer at the buzzer had given the Hawks a 24-17 lead after the first quarter.
Woodson was an assistant coach with the 76ers from 2001-03. … Hawks C Zaza Pachulia took an inadvertent forearm from Philadelphia’s Samuel Dalembert and fell hard to the floor with 6:28 left in the first quarter. Pachulia left the game with what a team spokesman called “headaches” and did not return. Pachulia played a total of 28 seconds. … The Sixers have lost six of their first nine home games. “We have to establish some consistency at home,” Cheeks said before the Atlanta game.