ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young thought it was important for him to play up to his status as an All-Star starter. After all, the Hawks’ point guard was matched against two of his All-Star teammates.
“I feel I needed to prove myself a little bit,” Young said.
“I think I managed the game pretty well tonight from start to finish,” said Young, who’s in his second season. “I’m getting better every day.”
Young ranks third in the league with 29.4 points per game. He is second, behind the Lakers’ LeBron James, with 9.2 assists per game.
Young was dominant from the opening period, when he had 10 assists. After that, he was the focus of the 76ers’ defense.
“I think we was too focused on what Trae was doing,” Simmons said.
Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris said Young “is a tough cover.”
“Tonight he just carved us up,” Harris said. “He was their whole offense tonight.”
Young and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds, are All-Star starters. Simmons, added to the Eastern Conference team on Thursday as a reserve, scored 31 points to lead Philadelphia.
Shake Milton had a career-high 27 points – 14 more than his previous high – but it wasn’t enough to improve the 76ers’ poor road record. Philadelphia, 22-2 at home, fell to 9-16 in away games.
John Collins had 17 points and 20 rebounds for Atlanta.
The 76ers, who began the night tied with Indiana for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, held their last lead at 21-20 against the Hawks, who are last in the conference.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called a timeout early in the final period after Young’s 3-pointer gave Atlanta a 106-94 lead. Apparently still unhappy with his team’s defense, Brown called another timeout about one minute later after Young’s floater pushed the lead to 14 points at 108-94, capping a 9-0 run.
Philadelphia cut Atlanta’s lead to 121-116 before Vince Carter, who had 14 points, sank two free throws.