The Associated PressATLANTA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have accomplished so much in this remarkable turnaround of a season.
Brett Brown doesn’t want them letting up now.
The 76ers set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive victory and moved to the brink of clinching the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, holding off the Atlanta Hawks 121-113 on Tuesday night.
JJ Redick scored 28 points and the 76ers got huge contributions off the bench from two former Atlanta players. Ersan Ilyasova scored 26 points and Marco Belinelli added 20.
How significant is a 15-game winning streak?
Just two years ago, the 76ers won 10 games all season.
“We all are greedy,” said Brown, the coach who was there for the bad times and now is getting to savor what has become one of the NBA’s most compelling stories. “We want more. I want more. I tell my team that all the time. This is when the fun begins.”
The 76ers overcame a tough outing for rookie star Ben Simmons, who missed the morning shootaround after coming down with the stomach flu. He was feeling better by game time but still seemed a bit out of sorts, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists before fouling out with 7 seconds remaining.
Simmons picked up a technical in the third quarter for arguing all the way down the court about a call that didn’t go his way.
“We had some lapses tonight where we didn’t play that well,” he said. “But we held it together.”
His teammates helped pick up the slack. Redick hit 6 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc, while Ilyasova and Belinelli — who started the season in Atlanta but were dumped by the rebuilding Hawks — combined for nine 3-pointers.
Philadelphia went 17 of 37 beyond the arc.
Now, the 76ers can lock up the East’s third seed with a home victory over Milwaukee in the regular-season finale Wednesday night.
“We have a real opportunity that we don’t want to let slip,” Brown said. “We can control our own destiny. We’re not a prisoner to other people’s events. That, in and of itself, is rare and not to be taken for granted.”