PHILADELPHIA — Of course, the game had some intrigue. That’s the 76ers’ way.
The struggling Atlanta Hawks came into Wells Fargo Center without two-time All-Star point guard Trae Young. They also were losers of four of their last five games.
Meanwhile, the Sixers had their full allotment of players on what is one of the league’s deepest rosters.
Despite that, they had their hands full before escaping with a 125-114 victory Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers needed a late 15-0 run on a night when Joel Embiid finished with 38 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. He remained in the game despite appearing to hurt his left knee in the fourth quarter.
The victory improved the Sixers to 14-7 on the season and marked their third straight home win after losing the previous three. Meanwhile, the Hawks (9-12) have now lost five of six and eight of their last 11 games.
In addition to Young (illness), Atlanta was minus Jalen Johnson (fractured left distal radius) and Mouhamed Gueye (stress fracture in right lower back).
Embiid made 12 of 24 shots and 13 of 15 free throws. Tyrese Maxey had 30 points and seven assists. Tobias Harris snapped out of his shooting slump with 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting. De’Anthony Melton (15 points) and reserve Kelly Oubre Jr (11 points) were the Sixers’ other double-figure scorers.
West Philly native De’Andre Hunter paced the Hawks with 24 points.
The Sixers blew a 14-point second-quarter lead thanks to an inability to make stops and costly turnovers. They battled back from a nine-point third-quarter deficit before seeing the lead seesaw.
While in pain, Embiid hit pair of foul shots with 3 minutes, 31 seconds left to knot the score, 109-109. Melton then scored on a breakaway layup to give the Sixers a two-point advantage 16 seconds later. Embiid’s 18-foot turnaround jumper gave the Sixers a 113-109 lead at the 2:31 mark. He added two more foul shots before Maxey drained a 3-pointer. Melton added a foul shot and a dunk to cap the Sixers’ 15-0 run to make it a 121-109 game with 55.1 seconds left.
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