Thaddeus Young did everything but help the 76ers avoid a blowout loss.
Motivated to play against his former teammates, the power forward put on a show Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. But Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, and Elton Brand won bragging rights, as the Hawks prevailed, 125-99.
Young finished with 29 points on an array of dunks and jump shots and three three-pointers. Twenty-three of his points came in the first half. The 6-foot-8, 230-pounder also finished with eight rebounds, five steals, and a blocked shot before sitting out the fourth quarter. The only negatives were his six turnovers, which tied a career high.
The Sixers dropped to 15-32 while losing for the 11th time in 14 games. They have lost five straight home games for the first time since March 30 to April 12, 2006. The Hawks improved to 24-21.
"It was the poorest performance of our season tonight," said coach Brett Brown, whose squad committed nine of its 21 turnovers in the first 5 minutes, 6 seconds. Six came on consecutive possessions.
"It was one of the few times that I felt our effort wasn't there," Brown added. "Thad was our shinning light, offensively."
Young made 11 of 19 field goals, while his teammates made just 30 percent (21 of 68) of their shots.
"It was just one of those nights where the other guys couldn't get going," he said. "You are going to have nights like that."
Before the game, Young said it was always good to face his former teammates. He said they are like big brothers to him.
"So it's definitely one of those situations you want to go out there and beat your big brothers," Young said.
But the big brothers showed they still have it.
Korver, who played 41/2 seasons in Philly before being traded to Utah in December 2007, made 3 of 4 three-pointers to score 11 points in 27 minutes. The shooting guard's 114 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer is an NBA record.
Brand, who spent four seasons with the Sixers, had a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Williams had 12 points and five assists in 20 minutes off the bench. The reserve guard spent seven seasons with the Sixers.
But Brand's and Williams' final season here was far different than the 76ers' current one.
Two seasons ago, their final year in Philadelphia, the Sixers were one win shy of reaching the Eastern Conference finals. But looking to upgrade, the franchise acquired center Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson in a four-team trade. In order to acquire the duo, the Sixers dealt Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets and Nik Vucevic and first-round pick Maurice Harkless to Orlando.
That trade was a disaster; Bynum never played for the Sixers due to a knee injury.
Brand said it is surprising to see his former team fall this far so fast.
"On the other note, they took a swing for the fences," said Brand, who lives in the Philadelphia area during the offseason. "You swing for the fences, sometimes you get whiffs. I understood what they tried to do to break that team up. I get it. But at the same time, we had some good talent."
The squad released Brand, a former all-star, under the league's amnesty clause. They weren't going to re-sign Williams, so he signed a free-agent deal with the Hawks.
"I don't think they should have broken that team up," Williams said. "But business is business. A lot of the things you are not in control of on the business side of it.
"But from a basketball perspective, I feel like we were building into a pretty good young basketball team. Unfortunately things didn't work out."
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers