Hawks hand Sixers their 11th straight road loss

Posted: March 07, 2013

ATLANTA - When good teams run into that part of the season when their bodies want to stop, they can draw on their reserve and find reasons to battle through, knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

However, for the 76ers, the tunnel is pitch black.

Playing their eighth game in 12 days, the 76ers had nothing when they started the game Wednesday night and even less at the end of a 107-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

The loss extended their road losing streak to 11 games, marking their longest slump since they dropped 20 straight from Dec. 28, 1987, to March 4, 1988. They have not won on the road since they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year's Day to bring their record to 15-17. Since that time the Sixers have gone 8-20.

The loss dropped them eight games behind the idle Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

It won't get any easier for the Sixers. On Friday they visit the Miami Heat, owners of a league-high 16-game winning streak. Miami will be looking to extend its regular-season winning streak over the hapless Sixers to 12 games.

"We looked very tired," Sixers coach Doug Collins said after his team's porous defense let yet another team slip away. "I don't want to make any excuses, but I think we were sluggish. I don't think we had much zip. Our bench had a lot of energy."

Damien Wilkins came off the bench to score a season-high 21 points. Fellow reserve Dorell Wright continued his hot play of late, finishing with 20 points.

But most of the Sixers starters were AWOL. Thaddeus Young finished with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The other starters shot a combined 7 for 29.

Jrue Holiday posted a double-double (11 points and 12 assists). However, the all-star point guard was just 3 for 12 from the field. Evan Turner scored just two points on 1-for-7 shooting.

The Sixers jumped out to an 8-0 lead, mostly because the Hawks missed their first eight shots.

After that poor start, the Hawks made 25 of 37 shots in the rest of the half and led by 59-47 at intermission. The Hawks, led by Jeff Teague's game-high 27 points and 11 assists, led by 21 at the end of the third quarter.

The Sixers will get Thursday off. Their reward after that is a game with LeBron James and the Heat.

"Never say never until the math says we're out of it," said center Spencer Hawes, who finished with eight points and 11 rebounds. "We've got to stay at it and keep fighting."

Contact John N. Mitchell at  jmitchell@philly.com. Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter.

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