Hawks take 1-0 series lead over 76ers in eastern conference semifinals with 128-124 game on win

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 128-124 in game one of the eastern conference semifinals on the road, but it wasn’t easy.

The Atlanta Hawks came out scorching hot, shooting 72% in the first quarter and scoring 42 points, a franchise playoff record for first-quarter scoring. They also forced nine turnovers in the quarter and held Philly to just 27 points. The Hawks set a franchise playoff record with 20 threes yet somehow blew their 26-point lead late.

That’s when things got fun and both teams began to increase their intensity.

The first half ended with the Hawks having a 74-point first-half, leading by 20 points and scoring 74 points. Young was unstoppable in the first half and Atlanta’s shooters torched the Sixers from three-point range.

Then, in the fourth quarter, after comfortably leading for most of the game and holding a 107-88 lead with 8:23 to go, the Hawks began to slowly implode. Philly went on a late 11-0 and outscored Atlanta 36-21 over the stretch. Philly’s defense had the Atlanta offense in shackles and, with no timeouts, laboring to get the ball inbounds and past halfcourt. 

Trae Young impressed once again, scoring 35 points and finishing with 10 assists, the first to do so in franchise history.  He was impressive in this game, but Young must clean up those late turnovers if Atlanta is going to win this series. Young became the second player in NBA history to score 30 points in each of his first four career road playoff games, joining then-Lew Alcindor, who did so in 1970

John Collins showed out with 21 points on an efficient 7-9 shooting afternoon, including three three-pointers. He came up clutch, hitting four free throws with the game on the line and converting an alley-oop dunk over Joel Embiid with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter to put the Hawks up 125-118. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic contributed a valuable 21 points, grabbed four rebounds and had five assists. He hit a three-pointer to put the Hawks up 121-115 with 41.4 seconds to go that silenced the crowd.

Kevin Huerter was efficient off the bench scoring 15 points on 6-9 shooting and made three three-pointers. He also had five rebounds and four assists. 

For the 76ers, Head Coach Doc Rivers made the necessary defensive adjustments by double-teaming Young on defense. Young, who scored 19 of his 25 first-half points against Danny Green, only scored ten points in the second. The 76ers made the fourth quarter exciting thanks to a late run and cut the deficit to single digits. 

Joel Embiid looked like his MVP-caliber self with 39 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in a game where he was a game-time decision. He dominated this game and had his way against the interior defense of the Hawks. 

Seth Curry was great from three, hitting five of his nine shots from that area. Curry finished with 21 points and helped fuel the late-game run by Philly. 

Tobias Harris added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers in their loss. 


What to watch for in Tuesday’s game two

The Sixers’ swarming defense and tenacity may be something to keep an eye on for game two; they made Atlanta uncomfortable and nearly stole game one. Philly is a top defense in the league, with Embiid and Ben Simmons, and had the Hawks on their heels at the end of the game. 

For Atlanta, they have to do a better job closing out games. They dominated for most of this game, controlling a double-digit advantage before a dramatic last three minutes.