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Short-handed 76ers lose their fourth straight game

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 09: Cameron Payne #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center on February 9, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – FEBRUARY 09: Cameron Payne #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center on February 9, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Trae Young scored 37 points and hit several key shots in the fourth quarter as the Atlanta Hawks held on to beat the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers 127-121 on Friday night.

Onyeke Okongwu added 21 points and Saddiq Bey had 16 points and 11 rebounds as Atlanta snapped a two-game skid.

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 28 points and Tobias Harris had 21 for Philadelphia, which has lost eight of its last nine games in a stretch in which the 76ers lost reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid to a meniscus tear.

Buddy Hield and Cam Payne, acquired before the trade deadline on Thursday, each scored 20 points in their Philadelphia debut.

In addition to Embiid, the Sixers were without All-Star guard Tyrese Maxey (illness), starting forward Nic Batum (left hamstring strain), guard De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine stress relief) and guard Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) against the Hawks.

Atlanta used its 3-point shooting to build a big lead, going 16 for 31 from beyond the arc in the first three quarters for a seemingly safe 22-point lead.

Philadelphia cut its deficit to six on multiple occasions. But, Young repeatedly countered with a drive down the lane, capitalizing on Embiid’s absence.

In addition to his game-high scoring total, Young finished with 12 assists.

Before the game, 76ers team president Daryl Morey expressed optimism that Embiid would return from his knee injury in time for a possible postseason run.

“We’re hopeful,” Morey said three days after Embiid underwent surgery on his left knee. “Feedback has been more good than bad since we first heard about what led to his procedure. So, we’re hopeful and we’re building the team to make it better this year. Obviously, it’s not at 100 percent. But with Joel playing at an MVP level, hopefully, he could get back to that. And this is a year that we have a real shot.”

UP NEXT

Hawks: Host the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

76ers: At the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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