If it feels like the last nine quarters played in this series between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks have been lopsided, it’s because they very much have been. In fact, coming into Game 4, the 76ers have outscored the Hawks by 44 points in that span of time, easily taking both Game 2 and Game 3 in the process.
Can Atlanta turn things around? Or will Philadelphia move one step closer to the Eastern Conference Finals? Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.
Joel Embiid ($18,900 CP) - It’s a little staggering to see Embiid’s stats for this series written down. The All-Star center has been an absolute force through three games, averaging 35.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 62.4 DKFP. These are the sort of numbers you can achieve when you’re equipped with a 37.1% usage rate and you’ve attempted a jaw-dropping 47 free throw attempts. Technically, Embiid enters Monday’s slate with a questionable tag, but Doc Rivers admitted that was all but a formality late last week. Embiid’s knee is fine and there isn’t a single member of the Hawks that has the capacity to stop him. Without question, he possesses the highest ceiling and floor combination in tonight’s contest.
Furkan Korkmaz ($5,100 CP) - If you want to construct a more balanced lineup this evening, Korkmaz in the Captain’s slot opens up a lot of salary to use elsewhere. Though the sharpshooter had a little bit of trouble finding the floor consistently in Philadelphia’s first seven games of the playoffs, an injury to Danny Green (calf) really changes the 76ers’ rotation. To wit, Korkmaz logged a team-high 27.4 minutes off the bench in Game 3 after Green had been ruled out, and in those minutes, Philadelphia outscored Atlanta by 24 points. Korkmaz also started the second-half in Green’s absence, heavily suggesting that he’ll be the asset inserted into the starting lineup on Monday. Considering he’s averaged 0.83 DKFP per minute in this series, Korkmaz should be able to bring back decent value if he sees 25-30 minutes once again.
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Danilo Gallinari ($5,400) - It says something about the Hawks that Trae Young ($11,200) is the lone rotation player averaging more than 1.00 DKFP per minute so far in this series, but Gallinari does rank second at 0.95 DKFP. Really, the only issue with the forward has been role, as Gallinari registered fewer than 20 minutes in Game 1 (after also playing fewer than 20 minutes in Game 5 against the Knicks). However, those trends seem to be shifting. While Solomon Hill ($2,200) has continued to start for Atlanta, he’s been subjected to incredibly quick hooks in both Game 2 and Game 3, with Gallinari logging a series-high 29.6 minutes in Friday’s 127-111 loss. If the veteran is going to see around 30 minutes in Game 4, he’s a couple thousand dollars too inexpensive.
Matisse Thybulle ($1,800) - Thybulle’s ceiling is lower than most, but this is a pretty tantalizing price tag for an asset we know is going to get around 20 minutes of action this evening. Heck, Thybulle’s actually seen the fifth-most possessions of any Philadelphia player in this series (130) and he’s sporting a pristine .792 true shooting percentage. Is that the result of an hilariously low usage rate? Of course. Still, if Thybulle can hit a few open three-pointers, his steady contributions in the steals and blocks categories could carry him to 7x or 8x value. He might also grab a few extra minutes with the aforementioned Green on the shelf.
Trae Young ($16,800 CP) - I want to be very clear here. I am not recommending you fade Young completely, just that you don’t use him as a Captain. As we all know, playoff series are about adjustments, and Doc Rivers made a huge one after Young dropped 35 points and 58.0 DKFP in Game 1. Danny Green was Young’s primary defender in the loss, yet in Game 2, the former lottery pick was greeted with heavy doses of Ben Simmons ($9,600) and Thybulle — not only the two best individual perimeter defenders on Philadelphia’s roster, but two of the better defenders in the entire league. Since the switch, Young’s been far more passive, as his 34.6% usage rate in Game 1 has fallen to a combined 28.6% mark in the past two contests. Maybe the aggressiveness returns with the Hawks desperate for a win, but even in such a scenario, Young is a UTIL option at best.
While it’s certainly unlikely that a team with the Hawks’ skill only makes six three-pointers for a second-straight game, I have a difficult time envisioning an Atlanta victory even when accounting for some regression. The 76ers are bigger, better and more experienced than the Hawks, and after a blip in Game 1, it appears that Philadelphia has really settled into a nice flow in this series. Let’s also not forget about the absence of De’Andre Hunter (knee), which still looms large for Atlanta.
Final Score: Philadelphia 120, Atlanta 113
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