76ers offense misses Harden, opening door for Hawks win

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Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) 76ers offense misses Harden, opening door for Hawks win

Nobody is shipping the game film from Atlanta Thursday night off to the Hall of Fame — this was a sloppy, stuck-in-the-mud kind of game. As evidence: Both teams scored under a point per possession (using Cleaning the Glass’ numbers).

Despite that, Atlanta did what good teams do, it found a way to win. There were 26 points from Trae Young and a big night from Clint Capela going up against Joel Embiid, with 18 points, 20 rebounds and a +24. Atlanta earned the victory, 104-95, and they found things that worked, including a Young alley-oop to John Collins where the pass came from beyond half court.

The 76ers miss James Harden (out for a month with a right foot tendon sprain). They are 1-2 in the three games he has missed and have a 99.3 offensive rating in those games, scoring less than a point per possession. Tyrese Maxey was expected to step up, but he is shooting 29.7% overall in the last three games and 26% on 3-pointers. Maxey is trying to initiate more of the offense by driving, but he is hunting fouls rather than making plays, bogging the offense down.

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It wasn’t just Maxey missing shots, the 76ers shot 38.6% as a team and were 6-of-30 from beyond the arc. The biggest sign of the Sixers’ offense stalling out: They had more turnovers (17) than assists (15).

Embiid had 26 points, 13 rebounds and was a +10 (the only 76er to play double-digit minutes and be in the positive). He’s playing well, but BBall Paul Reed comes in after him and is a foul machine, and the rest of the Sixers are scuffling.

Philly is 5-7 and while it’s still ridiculously early in the season, if the playoffs started today, the 76ers wouldn’t even make the play-in. Doc Rivers’ seat is getting warm, and it’s not going to be easy to turn things around without the stabilizing offensive presence of Harden.

2) Watch Kyle Kuzma go off for 36, outplay Doncic in Wizards’ win

Kyle Kuzma was the best player on the court in a game with Luka Doncic.

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Asked after the game what he had going, Kuzma replied “everything” — he had 36 points, hit 5-of-11 from 3, and lifted the Wizards to a 113-105 win over the Mavericks on a night both Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis sat out.

When the Wizards keep the ball moving, and Kuzma is his aggressive self, Washington is hard to stop. Kuzma got help from Rui Hachimura off the bench, he had 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

The Wizards also did a respectable job on Doncic, who had his second straight game under 30 points after breaking that barrier in his first nine. He had 22 points but was just 8-of-21 shooting, plus nine rebounds and six assists.

3) Miami needed overtime, but picked up needed win over Hornets

It’s been an unimpressive start in Miami, they came into Thursday night 4-7 with a bottom 10 offense — it was not what anyone expected from a team that came within a shot of the NBA Finals a season ago. Looking at their upcoming schedule, the Heat need both games of a two-game baseball-style series against the struggling Hornets. It’s a chance to right the ship.

Miami got the first one Thursday night but needed overtime to do it, 117-112. Jimmy Butler was his efficient self putting up 35 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while Bam Adebayo pitched in 18 points and 14 rebounds.

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Erik Spoelstra went with an eight-man rotation in this one and closed the game with a smaller lineup of Kyle Lowry and Gabe Vincent in the backcourt. Max Strus got a lot of run (nearly 40 minutes) with Tyler Herro out (left ankle sprain, he’s missed a couple of games so far and likely will miss more). The Heat missed Herro’s shot creation.

The Hornets still miss LaMelo Ball, who is reportedly close to a return (possibly Saturday against the Heat). Kelly Oubre Jr. stepped up with 29 for the Hornets and kept them in the game for stretches, but Charlotte lacked the shot creation that Ball brings to the table.

Check out more on the 76ers

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Three things to know: 76ers offense misses Harden, opening door for Hawks win originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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