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Philadelphia 76ers: Three observations from win vs. Hawks

76ers Hawks Joel Embiid

For the second game in a row, the Philadelphia 76ers found themselves in a one-possession game in the final seconds. This time around, they needed to hold on to the lead as the Atlanta Hawks had an opportunity to steal a victory. Atlanta failed to get a shot to go as time winded down, and the Sixers managed to walk away with a 98-96 victory. Here are some observations from the matchup. 

1) Seth Curry stays consistent 

Multiple Sixers find themselves in a bit of a dry spell shooting-wise, and the offense has paid the price for it. A balanced attack is what got the 76ers through their tough stretch playing shorthanded, but that has not been the case in their recent stretch. Even with some players struggling offensively, one player continues to be a consistent contributor. 

So far this season, Seth Curry has easily been the most consistent player for the 76ers. He put on another impressive showing against the Hawks, tallying 18 points and five assists. The sharpshooting guard continues to score efficiently as well, connecting on seven of his 14 shot attempts. 

Curry has been given a chance to be more a focal point this season, and he has certainly made the most of the opportunity. He is putting up some of the best numbers of his career and showing he can be more than just a deadeye shooter. Being someone the team can rely on to consistently put points on the board has made Curry an integral part of the Sixers’ success. 

2) 76ers defense comes up big when it matters 

A big reason why the Sixers walked away with a win in Atlanta is because of their defense down the stretch. Even when it looked like the Hawks had run away with the game, they never stopped fighting. Instead, they upped their intensity defensively and clawed their way back. 

Atlanta managed to get good looks on offense for a majority of the night, but the fourth quarter was a different story. They scored just nine points in the final 12 minutes, shooting 3-for-20 from the floor in the process. 

The 76ers have built a reputation as a defensive powerhouse in recent seasons, and showings like this are a testament to that. Even without Ben Simmons’ elite perimeter defense, they managed to get stops when it mattered most. 

3) Joel Embiid returns to form 

Joel Embiid has had a rollercoaster of a return from health and safety protocol, to say the least. After putting on a dominant showing against the Timberwolves, he struggled mightily against the Magic and Celtics. That being said, the All-Star center looked like the player we are accustomed to seeing against the Hawks. 

Embiid came out of the gates slow but kicked it into high gear in the second half. When all was said and done, he racked up 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Embiid also delivered on the biggest shot of the game when he nailed a mid-range jumper over Clint Capela in the game’s final minute. 

There’s no telling how Embiid might look in their next matchup, but seeing him return to form is a major positive for the 76ers. If they want to turn things around, this is the type of production they need from their franchise cornerstone on a nightly basis.