Sixers riding high as youth comes to life

Rookie swingman Ben Simmons and the Sixers continue to rise.

Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia 76ers are .500. That’s a first in four years.

Or how about this — the Sixers actually had a sellout crowd, for a game in the middle of the week, against the Atlanta Hawks.

Not LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the Hawks. But these days, it’s the Sixers that are the ticket.

The Sixers won the game, 119-109, for their third straight victory.

Joel Embiid finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots, and Ben Simmons went for 19 points, 13 boards and nine assists — and those two young players are indeed leading this team to very good things.

“I can be way better,” Simmons told reporters. “I’ve gotta stay in the gym. In a few years, it’s going to be fun.”

And that right there is probably scary for opponents.

Other top performers for the Sixers included Robert Covington, who scored a team-high 22 points, and Jerryd Bayless, who scored 14 off the bench. T. J. McConnell and Amir Johnson added 12 apiece.

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks (1-7) with a game-high 25 points.