The Atlanta Hawks are a young and rather inexperienced team in the playoffs, yet here they are in the second round. However, they now have the Sixers standing in their way, who has been arguably one of the best teams in the NBA this season. Atlanta played very well in Round One, taking down the streaking Knicks in dominant fashion, taking the series 4-1. Philadelphia performed just as well in the first round, winning 4-1, and probably would have swept the Wizards had star player Joel Embiid not exited the game with an injury.
So, do the Hawks have a chance at beating the number one seed Sixers? It would be rude to completely count out the Hawks, but then again, Philly is just that good to count out the Hawks in some ways. Let’s check it out.
In Game One, Atlanta controlled the game in all aspects until about the last 15 seconds of the game, and that is no exaggeration. Atlanta turned the ball over multiple times in the waning seconds of the game but managed to win 128-124, thanks to free throws and missed shots from Philly.
Trae Young continued to show he is playoff ready after finishing with 35 points and ten assists, leading the Hawks to their fourth straight win in the playoffs. To go into Philly and win Game One was huge for this Hawks team, but it will take plenty more big performances to secure another series win.
In Game Two, Philadelphia showed why they are the number one seed, pulling out a 118-102 victory behind a dominant 40 point, 13 rebound performance from Joel Embiid. Atlanta in Game Two seemed to cut away at every Sixer lead, but then the Sixers would go on their own run and pull away again.
Philadelphia’s starting five also proved why they are one of the strongest starting groups in the league this season as well. Behind Embiids 40 points, Tobias Harris added a strong 22 point outing, as well as Seth Curry, with a 21 point performance. Overall, this was Phillys’ game, and they made sure to not lose two home games to start the series.
Now that the series is all knotted at one game apiece as the series heads to Atlanta, the home games coming up for the Hawks will be key if they want to compete in this series. So, to answer the big question, do the Hawks have a shot at Philly?
I would say it is a very cautious yes, only because Atlanta proved they are stronger at home and if they can manage to win two games at home, they would sit pretty well going back to Philly for Game Five. If the Sixers play the way they did Tuesday night, then Atlanta will be in serious trouble. This series is at a 50/50 shot for which team will take control, and that is the best kind of basketball odds, in my opinion, makes it more interesting.
All eyes turn to Atlanta on Friday night as both teams will look to take control of the series and go up 2-1. Keep a close eye on Atlanta at home; they were sneaky good at home in the regular season, going 25-11, and have yet to lose at home in the playoffs this season. Playoff basketball is heating up in round two!
Stats from espn.com
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