At times, it looked more like a shootaround than an actual game.
That’s because the Atlanta Hawks operated as if the 76ers weren’t even on the court. Three-point shots, mid-range jumpers, layups and dunks – it didn’t matter. The Hawks did whatever they wanted in Friday’s 125-99 victory at Wells Fargo Center.
Atlanta (24-21) finished with seven double-figure scorers, shot 50.6 percent from the field and had 101 points with 1 minute, 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Sixers have surrendered at least 120 points in two of three games and 10 times this season.
“We have no appreciation for the importance of playing defense,” coach Brett Brown said. “You play defense or you don’t. … It’s a mindset. It’s a way you see the sport. And we need to see the sport through that lens, or we’re going to have those types of nights.”
Things were so bad that former Sixer Elton Brand finished with a season-high 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting. The reserve power forward was averaging just 4.1 points prior to the game.
Brown thinks his team focused too much on the offensive end.
“It’s a mindset where we try to get back in it on the wrong end of the floor,” he said, “and it has to be on [the defensive] end of the floor. Bottom line. End of story. That’s how the culture of this program has to be built and will be built, or we’re not going anywhere.
“It’s important that we admit that and say that now. That’s the bottom line. That’s a fact. And that’s the people that we need to have.”
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers