The Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks playoff series went down to the wire. The closely contested matchup came down to the final minutes of Game 7. The Hawks persevered and won their first road Game 7 in franchise history. Let’s look back at how this 76ers vs. Hawks playoff series played out.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks Series Recap
Stealing One Early
The Hawks started off on the right foot, taking Game 1 in Philadelphia. Trae Young led the way with 35 points as Atlanta jumped out to an early lead. Heading into halftime, the 76ers found themselves down 20 points. Philadelphia rallied with 41 points in the fourth quarter, but the Hawks held on for a narrow victory.
The 76ers bounced back to win Games 2 and 3, regaining homecourt advantage. Joel Embiid played particularly well in Game 2. His 40-point outing led all scorers. Shake Milton made his presence felt as well. His 14 points in as many minutes made the guard an early hero in the Series. Game 3 saw 6 76ers score double figures as the strong offensive outing was too much for the Hawks. A second-half rally helped Atlanta pull away with a Game 4 victory. Embiid missed every shot he took in the final quarter and looked to be struggling with his injured knee. Going into Game 5, the series was now a best of 3.
With the series back in Philadelphia, the home team jumped out to an early lead behind an 8-8 first quarter from Embiid. Seth Curry added 36 points to the effort as well, the only other 76er in double figures that night. This high-scoring duo built a 26-point lead by the third quarter. Everything was looking good for Philadelphia, but the Hawks stormed back with a 40-point fourth quarter. Young did most of the scoring but was helped out by John Collins, who had a double-double. Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari chipped in off the bench. Williams had an impressive +31 in his 23 minutes, shooting 64% from the floor.
In Game 6, it was the 76ers turn for a comeback victory. Tobias Harris and Curry each had 24 points, helping to overcome Ben Simmons’ lack of offensive production. Tyrese Maxey logged major minutes and contributed 16 points to the effort. The rookie guard grabbed 7 rebounds and had the best +/- on the floor for Philadelphia that night. With the 76ers logging the win, the away team had won 4 of the first 6 games of the series.
76ers-Hawks: Game 7 Showdown
Atlanta came into Philadelphia with a 0-9 record in road Game 7’s. Their opponent entered the game with a 5-1 record in Game 7’s played at home. The 76ers were once again carried by Embiid, Harris, and Curry in Game 7. The trio combined for 71 of the team’s 96 points and were once again the only players to score at least 10 points for the team. The Hawks on the other hand saw their best team-wide offensive performance since Game 4. Young struggled from the floor, shooting 5-23 and 2-11 from beyond the arc. His teammates were there to pick him up, with 3 other starters scoring at least 13 points. Kevin Huerter’s 27 points made him Atlanta’s leading scorer in this crucial game 7. Gallinari came off the bench to add 17 points to the effort, including a fast-break dunk that sealed this one up.
Breaking the Process
While the Hawks and coach Nate McMillan deserve to be praised for their efforts in completing this upset, the focus will likely be on how the 76ers have once again fallen short of their championship goal. The rebuilding strategy known as ‘The Process’ has not yielded the expected results and we may see the core of this team broken up in the offseason. Simmons was already mentioned in several trade rumors this season and with a lackluster playoff performance, those rumors are likely to fire up again. Coach Doc Rivers will certainly receive his share of the blame. He was brought in to push this team to the next level and this roster had the talent to get them there.
Unfamiliar Territory for the Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks return to the Eastern Conference Finals for only the second time in their history. Last time, the 2015 division champions were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks enter this series as the underdogs once again and we can expect them to make life difficult for the favored Milwaukee Bucks. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals begins Wednesday, June 23rd at 8:30 pm.
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