The Associated PressPHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 30 fateful seconds in the fourth to forget.
The Philadelphia 76ers star guard lost the ball in a tie game on a drive down the lane that led to Atlanta’s John Collins finding separation and burying a fadeaway jumper with 25 seconds left for the lead.
Butler had a chance at atonement — he was 12-for-12 at the free-throw line and had two shots with 2.4 seconds left.
First shot, rattle and miss.
Second shot, clang off the back of the rim.
Wilson Chandler slipped under the basket on the second attempt and missed his gimmie tip-in at the horn that helped the Hawks hang on to beat the Sixers 123-121 on Friday night.
“I hope we’re still together,” Butler said. “Nobody pointing fingers at anybody.”
There were at least a few raised eyebrows after the hapless Hawks (13-29) sent the Sixers to just their fourth home loss of the season. The Sixers struggled with All-Star center Joel Embiid out with a sore ankle suffered in a loss to Washington on Wednesday. His presence was missed — Embiid leads the 76ers with averages of 26.9 points and 13.4 rebounds in 40 games — and the Hawks pounced.
Atlanta crushed the Sixers with 62 points in the paint and outrebounded Philly 44-30.
“You can start all over the place and whether it’s Joel or not Joel, you know we should be better defensively,” coach Brett Brown said. “It’s where we anchored our program and at the moment, we are poor. Right now, lately, we have been poor.”
The Hawks were happy to capitalize and hit 12 3s and shot 56 percent overall from the floor. Collins scored 25 points and Kevin Huerter hit five 3s and led the Hawks with 29 points.
“I had a pretty good rhythm in the fourth quarter and we just kind of kept running plays that were working for us,” Huerter said.
Butler led the Sixers with 30 points and Ben Simmons had 23 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.
The game turned into a 3-point shootout late — the teams combined for 23; seven in the fourth.
JJ Redick, who missed the last two games with a sore back, led a comeback in the fourth with a pair of 3-pointers that tied the game each time. TJ McConnell put the 76ers ahead by one with 2:39 left. Huerter buried a 3 to tie it at 121.
“We just got to fix it,” Butler said. “I think we’re going to be fine. All I know is, everybody’s in there. We’re in it together. We’re not going separate ways.”
Doncic scores 29 as Mavs win
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 29 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to lead the Dallas Mavericks over the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-115, spoiling rookie coach Ryan Saunders’ home debut.
Doncic nearly recorded a triple-double, finishing with 12 assists and eight rebounds. He scored seven of Dallas’ final nine points.
Taj Gibson gave the Timberwolves the lead at 115-114 with a tip-in of Jeff Teague’s miss with 35.7 seconds left. But with 22.9 to play, Doncic hit a pull-up 3 to put the Mavericks ahead for good.