The Atlanta Hawks are ahead in their second-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers after securing a 128-124 upset in Game 1 on Sunday. De’Andre Hunter was ruled out for the contest because of knee soreness, but the Hawks’ role-players stepped up with a miraculous offensive performance.
Atlanta’s spectacular shooting helped it secure a 20-point lead through the first two frames and the underdogs scored 99 points through three quarters. However, the Hawks lost all their momentum in the second half because of defensive adjustments and lost the third and fourth quarters en route to a thrilling ending. Atlanta’s star point guard powered its offense and has continued to be one of the most exciting players in the playoffs.
Trae Young continued to impress in his first-ever postseason and scored 35 points to go along with 10 assists. He gave Philly’s defense fits throughout his 58-DKFP performance and drew the attention of Danny Green and Ben Simmons before the Sixers were forced to double-team him with high traps. When he couldn’t score himself his teammates were able to hit big shots. Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins scored 21 points apiece, while Kevin Huerter led the bench with 15 points. Clint Capela recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Joel Embiid had a small meniscus tear in his knee after Game 4 of the first round and was listed as questionable ahead of Sunday but drew the start and dominated. The big man tallied a game-high 39 points with 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. He led all players with62.75 DKFP. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris scored 46 and 43.5 DKFP, respectively. Seth Curry’s hot shooting from the final game of the first round carried over, and he scored 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
Atlanta managed to cover the spread as 3-point underdogs and could be in even better shape when Hunter returns. Joel Embiid’s condition will be something to monitor moving forward as he remains the Sixers’ most potent offensive weapon. His scoring will be key to keeping Philadelphia competitive against the Hawks’ abundance of shooters.