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Brand, Hawks rout reeling 76ers

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- When Atlanta Hawks forward Elton Brand entered Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers late in the first quarter, he received a smattering of boos from the fans in attendance.

Brand, who played for the Sixers for four years (2008-12), was unbothered.

"I don't think anybody outside of (Allen Iverson) gets a positive one," he said, referring to the retired Sixers star.

Brand went on to score a season-high 18 points in the Hawks' 125-99 victory, though he was hardly vengeance-minded. Rather, he said he wanted to atone after going scoreless in Monday's loss to Oklahoma City.

"I didn't really help the team the way I wanted to help," he said. "I wanted to come out tonight, whoever we were playing, help out and get a win."

The 34-year-old Brand, in his 15th season, shot 8-for-12 off the Atlanta bench to lead seven players in double figures. He also collected eight rebounds.

The fact that he didn't attach any special significance to the game was typical, according to Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.

"Every night he really brings us a presence and a competitiveness that you just crave as a coach and you crave as a team," he said. "He's playing one of his old teams, but to be honest with you that's kind of how he plays every night. That's been a real gift to us."

Another reserve, forward Mike Scott, also had 18 points for the Hawks (24-21), with 16 of those coming in the second quarter. Guard/forward Demarre Carroll scored 13, while guards Lou Williams and Jeff Teague and forward Paul Millsap had 12 each. Guard/forward Kyle Korver chipped in 11.

Williams and Korver are also former Sixers, as is another reserve, guard Shelvin Mack. Mack had eight points off the bench, as Atlanta's reserves outscored Philadelphia's bench 70-41.

Forward Thaddeus Young notched 29 points, one shy of his season high, to pace the Sixers (15-32), who have dropped four of their last five. They have also lost five straight at home, and 11 of 13.

Guard Michael Carter-Williams added 17 points and reserve guard Elliot Williams had a season-high 15 for Philadelphia.

Sixers coach Brett Brown said it was his team's "poorest performance of the season."

"The effort wasn't there," he said.

That was especially true at the defensive end. The Hawks reached a season-high point total for a non-overtime game while shooting 50.6 percent from the floor, including 8-for-16 from 3-point range. They also had 36 assists on 45 field goals.

Brown said his players "have no appreciation for the importance of playing defense."

And, he added, "Defense is how this program has to be built, or we're not going anywhere."

The Hawks, who trailed only in the game's opening minutes, put the game away by outscoring the Sixers 22-4 over a five-minute stretch in the third quarter. Brand and Millsap scored six points apiece in the flurry, while Philadelphia missed seven of nine shots and turned the ball over four times.

When Brown called a 20-second timeout with 1:47 left in the period, the crowd serenaded the Sixers with boos. Immediately after the timeout Philadelphia committed a shot-clock violation, and Hawks guard Dennis Schroder capped the run with a three-point play, making the score 102-70.

Young poured in 16 points, including three 3-pointers, in the first quarter. The Sixers nonetheless found themselves trailing 27-21 as they turned the ball over 10 times, their highest total in any quarter this season. They finished with 21.

Scott answered with his 16-point outburst in the second period, when the Hawks stretched their lead to 64-50. But with .1 left in the half it was ruled that Teague, who returned after missing the two previous games with an ankle sprain, had fouled Young as he attempted a shot from midcourt.

Young, who finished the half with 23 points, made two of three free throws to narrow the gap to 64-52.

Scott's 16 points paced the Hawks in the half, and in all Atlanta's reserves outscored the Philadelphia bench 38-25.

Atlanta extended its advantage to 21, at 79-58, early in the third quarter, weathered a brief Philadelphia flurry and then went on the decisive 22-4 spree.

NOTES: The game featured a matchup of former San Antonio Spurs assistants Brett Brown and Mike Budenholzer, first-year coaches for the Sixers and Hawks, respectively. Brown said it is easy to see "hints of some Spur discipline in (Atlanta's) structure." Budenholzer agreed that there are similarities in the approaches taken by his team and Brown's but also said there are many different resources to draw upon when it comes to building a club. "We've taken what's good," he said, "and hopefully melded it with our groups." ... Brown also professed admiration for David Stern, who is stepping down as NBA commissioner after 30 years. "This is truly a global sport," said Brown, who once coached in Australia and has traveled extensively. "The NBA logo means something. His runs are on the board, and what he's done for the sport is amazing." ... Hawks G-F Kyle Korver extended to 114 his consecutive-game streak in which he has hit at least one 3-pointer.
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