ATLANTA — The Philadelphia 76ers, who had won eight of their past 10 games, are no longer pushovers, but they remain foils for the Atlanta Hawks.
Paul Millsap had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Hawks took advantage of the absence of rookie standout Joel Embiid and 21 Philadelphia turnovers in a 110-93 victory on Saturday night.
It was the 11th victory in the past 13 games for the Hawks (26-18), who lead second-place Washington by 2 1/2 games in the Southeast Division.
“We’re focused and trying to win as many games as we can,” said Millsap, who was the subject of trade rumors not long ago. “Right now, we’re playing locked in.”
The Hawks have won 13 of their past 14 games against the 76ers, including seven straight in Atlanta.
Dwight Howard, the Hawks’ big free-agent signing over the summer, had 15 rebounds to go with 13 points, Kent Bazemore scored 16 points and Dennis Schroder had 15 points and nine assists.
“I think we’ve come a long way with Dwight and the team,” Schroder said. “A whole new system with him, but I think we’re getting better every day.”
Ersan Ilyasova led the 76ers (15-27) with 21 points and Robert Covington had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Embiid, who bruised his left knee Friday, sat out the end of a back-to-back for the 76ers as usual. He was replaced at center by Jahlil Okafor, who had 12 points and four rebounds.
Atlanta led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and went into the fourth up 90-77. The 76ers cut the lead to seven points before the Hawks pulled away.
“They’re good, they’re veterans and they’ve been playing together for a while,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said of the Hawks. “We came down here and we knew it was going to be a difficult game. … They are really difficult here at home.”
The Hawks had closed the first quarter with seven straight points to force a tie at 25. They finished the second quarter on a 16-8 run to take a 62-54 lead at intermission as Millsap scored at the buzzer.
Millsap and Bazemore each scored 11 points in the first half, with Bazemore making five of six shots fromt he floor. Howard had nine points and nine rebounds at the break.
The Hawks shot 69.6 percent in the second quarter and 57.4 percent for the first half before finishing at 49.5 percent.
“We pushed the pace on the offensive end and on the defensive end we had active hands to create turnovers and start fast breaks,” Schroder said. “We shot the ball well.”
Ilyasova had 12 points at halftime and Gerald Henderson scored all 10 of his for the game before the break as the 76ers made 51.2 percent of their shots from the field in the first half.
The defense wasn’t there, though, and Philadelphia finished shooting 42.3 percent.
“The second group struggled,” Brown said. “I thought the energy and activity wasn’t what it has been. They’ve been very, very good. It just wasn’t one of there nights.”
NOTES: Philadelphia C Joel Embiid’s status for Tuesday’s home game with the Los Angeles Clippers won’t be determined until after further evaluation of his bruised left knee. The rookie standout was hurt Friday in the victory over Portland and sat out the end of the game as a precaution. Embiid, who is averaging 19.8 points and 7.8 rebounds, doesn’t play in back-to-back games, so he wasn’t scheduled to make the trip to Atlanta anyway. … C Jahlil Okafor, who had played in just three of the 76ers’ previous 10 games, started in place of Embiid. Okafor had 26 points and nine rebounds filling in for Embiid a week ago against Washington. … The 76ers recalled F Richaun Holmes from Delaware of the NBA Developmental League. … Hawks C/F Mike Muscala missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle and is doubtful to play against the Clippers on Monday in Atlanta.