76ers trounce Hawks, 101-90

Posted: April 06, 2013

ATLANTA - Playing with an urgency that was absent a few days ago in a loss at Charlotte, the 76ers responded with a balanced effort Friday in a 101-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

The Sixers scored 40 points in the first quarter, the most they have scored in any quarter this season, and that enabled them to cruise home.

After going 14 games in which he failed to score 20 points or more earlier this season, Evan Turner finished with a team-high 24 points, marking the third time in the last four games that he's scored 20 or more.

"We were clicking on all cylinders," Turner said of the first quarter. "Coach [Doug Collins] has been encouraging us to come out and win first quarters."

Spencer Hawes (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (14 points, 13 rebounds) notched their 18th and 20th double-doubles, respectively, of the season. Damien Wilkins added 16 points, and Jrue Holiday finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 19 points.

"I thought this was the best game Evan has played in a while," Collins said. "It makes me feel good because I spent a lot of time with him and Jrue at the practice facility talking about getting yourself ready to play and coming down he stretch.

"These games are important for us because I've got young players."

The victory kept alive the Sixers' slim hopes of reaching the playoffs. They came into the game six games behind Milwaukee, the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with the Bucks' magic number for securing the spot being two. The Bucks fell to the hot Carmelo Anthony's Knicks in New York on Friday.

The Hawks, meanwhile, came into Friday's game seeded sixth and having already clinched a berth. However, despite their lackluster performance, the Hawks, just 21/2 games behind fourth-seeded Brooklyn, are trying to move up. So they had something to play for.

But the Sixers held them at bay all night after their big first quarter. The Sixers led by as many as 19 points in the first half, saw the Hawks reduce it to 12 in the third quarter, and then restored their lead to 85-65 at the end of three.

The Sixers close out this trip on Saturday with a game against Eastern Conference-leading Miami. This will be the first time the Sixers have faced the Heat since Chicago ended their franchise-record 27-game winning streak last Wednesday.

The Heat, who rested LeBron James and Dwyane Wade against Charlotte on Friday, have won 14 straight regular-season games against the Sixers.

Sixers associate head coach Michael Curry was not on the bench on Friday after being diagnosed before the game with viral gastroenteritis, according to the Sixers.

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

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