ATLANTA – Paul Millsap made sure that the Philadelphia 76ers did not start a winning streak at the expense of the Atlanta Hawks’ playoff hopes.
The veteran Atlanta forward had 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Hawks snapped a six-games losing streak with a 103-95 victory over the 76ers on Monday night at Philips Arena.
“We feel like every game from now on until the end is a must-win game,” said Millsap, whose team holds the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite 20 losses in the past 27 games.
Guard Lou Williams came off the bench to score eight of his 22 points in the final three minutes as the Hawks (32-41) broke away from a late 92-92 tie.
“We were close to winning. If that doesn’t get you excited, nothing will,” said Williams, a former 76er. “It’s my job to score.”
“We had done a good job on Lou up until that point,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “Then Lou did what Lou does and the game was pretty much determined at that stage.”
Forward Thaddeus Young had 23 points for the 76ers, who had snapped a record-tying 26-game losing streak on Saturday. Guard James Anderson scored 19 for Philadelphia.
Rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for Philadelphia, which committed 20 turnovers.
“I thought that their defense intensity lifted 10-fold and I didn’t think we handled it well,” Brown said. “They ran us out of a lot of our stuff.”
The Hawks, down by 14 points in the second quarter, finally got going and closed the third quarter on a 19-5 run to pull ahead 75-73.
“Defensively, in the second half, we were significantly better,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Millsap had nine points in the third quarter and Atlanta made 11 of 17 shots, including their first three 3-point attempts.
“We just looked at each other and realized,” said Hawks guard Kyle Korver, who had missed all the games in the losing streak with back spasms. “There was no speech. We just knew what was at stake. Hopefully, we got some things back on track.”
Young hit his first three 3-point attempts to help the 76ers (16-58) take a 31-18 first-quarter lead, and the advantage was 53-43 at intermission.
The Hawks missed their first 10 attempts from behind the 3-point arc and were 2-for-15 in the first half while shooting 31.9 percent overall.
Millsap had 15 points at halftime for the Hawks, while Young led the 76ers, who shot 51.2 percent, with 14 points.
The 76ers made 11 3-point shots in the game, but were 12-of-20 from the foul line compared to 24-of-30 for the Hawks.
“The aggressive nature of the game rose and we just didn’t execute towards the end,” Young said.
Millsap made nine of 13 free throws and was 9-of-15 from the floor in his 14th game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“Paul has been an anchor for us all year,” Korver said. “Offensively, defensively, knocking down big threes, posting up. He’s just been great. We needed them all tonight. Paul stepped up in a big way.”
NOTES: G Kyle Korver returned to the Hawks’ starting lineup after missing six games with back spasms. He scored 11 points despite hitting just one of six 3-point attempts. … The Hawks also had F DeMarre Carroll back after he missed Saturday’s loss in Washington because of a stomach virus. … Philadelphia F Arnett Moultrie, assigned to the NBA Development League on March 15, was suspended five games without pay by the NBA on Monday for violating the anti-drug program. The 6-foot-10 second-year player from Mississippi State has appeared in 12 games with the 76ers this season. … Backup C Byron Mullens missed a second straight game for the 76ers because of a sprained left ankle. … It was the first of three straight home games for the Hawks, who host Chicago on Wednesday and Cleveland on Friday. … The 76ers return home to play Charlotte on Wednesday.
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