The Philadelphia 76ers are the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but in 10 attempts since 1986, they have won just one Second Round Playoff series.
They didn’t get off to the best of starts in Round 2 of the playoffs this year either, as the Atlanta Hawks came to Philadelphia for Game 1 and emerged with a 128-124 victory.
Once again, Trae Young was the inspiration behind the Hawks victory, becoming the first Hawks player to have more than 35 points and 10 assists in a playoff game.
The first player in Atlanta Hawks history to have 35+ PTS & 10+ AST in a playoff game. ❄️ pic.twitter.com/fPylNgfGDS
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 6, 2021
Good News Initially
The day began well for sixers fans when Joel Embiid was declared fit enough to play in the game after injuring his knee in their series win over the Wizards.
The center showed no ill-effects from that injury as he top-scored in the game with 39 points, 9 rebounds and four assists. However, it was still not enough to lead the home team to victory.
Seth Curry contributed 21 points and Tobias Harris added 20 but the 76ers were up against it after a disastrous first half.
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Hawks Race Into Lead Then Hold Off 76ers Fourth Quarter Fightback
The Hawks raced into the lead, taking a 15-point lead into the second quarter after a blistering start to the game, and they then increased that to 20 points at the half.
The 76ers clawed back four points in the third quarter and battled back 12 more in the fourth, but ultimately were unable to bridge the gap the Hawks had opened up in that first half display.
Alongside Young’s impressive performance, Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins both contributed 21 points to help the Hawks to victory.
Given his influence on the game, there is growing clamor in Philadelphia for their Defensive Player of the Year finalist Ben Simmons to be given the role of quelling Young’s influence for the rest of the series.
It is certainly something that 76ers head coach Doc Rivers will have to give serious consideration to, with the Hawks now effectively having snatched home court advantage after last night’s victory in Philly.
The second game in the series takes place on Tuesday at 7.30pm ET.
Clippers Clinch Second Round Playoff Spot
In other NBA playoff news, the Los Angeles Clippers won the last two games of their series against the Dallas Mavericks to win that series 4-3 and move into the Second Round, where they will face the Utah Jazz.
Kawhi Leonard was their key man in both games scoring 45 points in the first and 28 in the second, meaning Mavericks’ Luka Doncic’s 46 point haul in that final series game proved not to be enough.
The Clippers levelled the series with a 104-97 win in the sixth game and then earned a 126-111 win in L.A to eliminate the Mavericks. It was the first time in the series that the home team had landed the victory.
Next up for the Clippers is a trip to Utah on Tuesday Night to take on the top ranked Jazz in their opening series game.
Nets Lose Harden Early But Still Beat Bucks
In the other Second Round playoff series, the Brooklyn Nets lost James Harden to injury very early in the first quarter, but thanks to a very solid team effort, managed to hold on to victory over the Milwaukee Bucks by 115-107.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the home team, with Kyrie Irving adding 25. It was a dominant third quarter display by the Nets which effectively wrested control of the tie in their favor.
Giannis once again produced the goods for the Bucks with a game high 34 points, as well as 11 rebounds, but the Bucks lack of points in the second half, they managed just 23 in both the third and fourth quarter, was ultimately their undoing.
The second game in the series takes place tonight in Brooklyn, while he second game tonight will see the Denver Nuggets start their Second Round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.
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