The 76ers made their share of shots last night, but not enough of them, according to coach Eddie Jordan. The Atlanta Hawks made plenty.
The Hawks converted better than 51 percent of their field-goal attempts, placed four players in double figures, and sent the Sixers to their fifth consecutive loss, 100-86, in front of a crowd of 12,984 at the Wachovia Center.
The Sixers , 5-11, actually outshot Atlanta in the second half, 54.5 percent to 52.8 percent, but Jordan bemoaned their inability to finish shots down the stretch when the Hawks managed to stay comfortably in front.
"We just left so many plays out there unfinished, in the open floor, at the rim," Jordan said. "We missed shots. They had a good defense and they switched a lot with good size, but there were some plays where we had an advantage in the number of breaks . . . we didn't have enough scoring pace to stay with them."
With Elton Brand resting his sore right hamstring and guard Lou Williams out for eight weeks with a broken jaw, the Sixers had balanced scoring - four players in double figures led by Thaddeus Young with 22 points - but, as Jordan said, they couldn't keep pace with Atlanta.
The Hawks, playing the second of back-to-back games, had players stepping up in every quarter. Jamal Crawford carried them in the fourth quarter, accounting for 11 of his game-high 24 points.
Mike Bibby added 21 points (13 in the first quarter), Josh Smith 20 (nine in the second), and Al Horford 15. Bibby set the tone for Atlanta, and made it a miserable night for Sixers rookie Jrue Holiday, starting his second game in place of Williams.
Bibby came right out against Holiday and drained his first five shots, three coming from beyond the arc, to account for 13 of his team's first 20 points before the game was 10 minutes old. Bibby had averaged 7.2 points and shot 32.6 percent in his previous five games.
"Bibby is one of those guys that can shoot the ball really well," Andre Iguodala said. "You've got to pay a lot of attention to him and not let him get it going early. But I thought Jrue did a decent job getting out on his shot. He just made some tough shots. It's part of growing pains that you've got to go through."
The Sixers were within 88-82 with less than five minutes to play, but Atlanta scored six in a row, a run capped by Crawford's two free throws. After Iguodala dunked for the Sixers , Bibby drained a trey with 1 minute, 36 seconds left to wrap things up.
"We were hanging around, but we never had a grasp of a good, solid game," said guard Jason Kapono, who knocked down both of his three-point shots. "Continuity-wise on the defensive end and the offensive end, we just never were clicking and flowing."
Even though they lost, some Sixers players put up good numbers.
Iguodala came close to a triple double with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Season highs were established by Jason Smith (14 points), Rodney Carney (13 points), and Samuel Dalembert (six blocked shots).
Smith, who started in place of Brand for the second straight game, went 7 of 13 from the field with five rebounds and two blocked shots in a little less than 28 minutes.
"I told the team after the game, just keeping bringing positive energy," Jordan said. "We're going to be undermanned until Elton gets back. We're going to be small, but keep your confidence, keep the positive energy, and we'll work through it."
Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or email@example.com.
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