Marvin Williams was just one of the cold-shooting Hawks in the second half of Friday's 90-76 loss to the 76ers.
PHILADELPHIA — Jrue Holiday-to-Andre Iguodala was exactly the sort of high-flying connection the Philadelphia 76ers needed Friday night.
Holiday had 16 points and 11 assists, and Iguodala scored 11 points to lead the 76ers to a 90-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
“We can play against tough teams,” Iguodala said.
Play and win.
Thaddeus Young scored 20 points and Elton Brand grabbed 16 rebounds to help the 76ers win for the 10th time in 12 games and improve to 7-1 at home.
The Sixers left a dismal first half in the dust with a sensational third quarter. Jodie Meeks hit a pair of 3-pointers and Iguodala rocked nearly 18,000 fans with a pair of thunderous dunks during a 14-0 run.
In a game between teams that started the night as division leaders, the Hawks were in control until the Sixers found their way.
Coach Doug Collins wrote a halftime note for his team on the board: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,”
“I thought our guys went fast in the first half, and alone,” Collins said. “I thought we went far in the second half, and together.”
Holiday had five of his 11 assists in the third and the Sixers pulled ahead by 18 in the fourth.
Former Sixer Willie Green scored 14 points and Jeff Teague had 12 for the Hawks, who snapped a four-game winning streak. Atlanta had been perfect since All-Star center Al Horford tore his left pectoral muscle, an injury that required surgery and could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Hawks coach Larry Drew could be heard yelling at his team in the locker room after the game.
“It got tough for us and we quit,” Drew said. “That’s what happened. I was more disappointed than frustrated.”
Even Horford couldn’t have done much to stop the Sixers’ mix of fastbreak dunks and 3-pointers in the third. Coming off their first home loss of the season, and a game Saturday at Miami, the Sixers knew they had to have this one to keep the early-season good vibes going.
“You win this game. You don’t lose two in a row at home,” Collins said.
Iguodala ignited the run when he scooped up a loose ball of an Atlanta turnover and turned it into a driving slam that cut it to 51-50. Meeks, who had 12 points, buried consecutive 3s to the delight of a loud and large crowd. Years of .500 or worse basketball had sucked the life out of the Wells Fargo Center. Sure enough, thanks to a fast start and slashed ticket prices, the arena is suddenly the place to be on a Friday night — or any night.
Holiday ended the run on a highlight reel-worthy feed to Iguodala for an alley-oop that nearly brought down the rim.
Yes, this was the same team that looked disconnected and missed 12 of their first 17 shots.
“We settled down a little bit, got some stops and went on a little run,” Iguodala said.
They turned up the defensive pressure in the third and would have held Atlanta to seven points had Green not sank a 27-footer at the buzzer. The Hawks scored only 29 points in the second half.
“They took the level of intensity up and we didn’t respond,” Green said.
The Sixers even played without center Spencer Hawes (left Achilles’ strain). Hawes will also miss Saturday’s game at Miami.
Philadelphia triggered its offense off the fastbreak and turnovers and buried the Hawks with easy buckets. Iguodala, who fans wanted traded after years of symbolizing a stagnant franchise, has been embraced this season for giving them the flashy dunks in combination with the flashy victories.
The Sixers had built their Atlantic Division lead by burying some of the NBA’s worst teams. Even without Horford, the Sixers passed a nice test of beating a division leader.
“We felt we had to have this win against a really good Eastern Conference team,” Brand said. “We want to say we’re an elite team, so we had to win this game.”
Notes: Iguodala became the fifth Sixer with 1,000 career steals. He’s behind Maurice Cheeks, Allen Iverson, Julius Erving and Charles Barkley. … The Sixers are off to their best start since they went 12-2 in 2000-01. … The Hawks turned the ball over 15 times.