Strong second half helps 76ers beat Hawks, force Game 7

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid and the Hawks' John Collins have a scuffle during the 4th quarter.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid and the Hawks' John Collins have a scuffle during the 4th quarter. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

With a strong second half, the No. 1 seed 76ers beat the No. 5 seed Hawks, 104-99, to take Game 6 Friday at State Farm Arena and tie the series 3-3, forcing a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

ExploreMark Bradley: The Hawks hit a speed bump

Next up, Game 7 will be Sunday.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. After an 18-point comeback in Game 4 and a 26-point comeback in Game 5, the Hawks gave up a 14-0 run to start the third quarter and could never quite get back on track. Before the Hawks got on the board, Seth Curry had hit three 3-pointers and a pullup, with Joel Embiid adding another 3 during that burst. That run put the Hawks down 10, and they never regained the lead, having another rough shooting night (they shot 32.3% from 3-point range and haven’t reached their season average of 37.3% beyond the arc since Game 1, when they sunk a franchise playoff record 20 3′s and shot 42.6%). Curry had 24 points, going 6-for-9 from 3-point range, Embiid had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Tobias Harris added 24 points.

“I think that was it, they came out and those four 3′s in a row, they made a good run on us, and just didn’t seem like we didn’t have the same rhythm,” wing Kevin Huerter (17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) said. “First half, we were getting up and down, our pace was really good. We got a lot of lobs at the rim, we were getting kick-out 3′s, it kind of felt like we were getting anything we wanted on the offensive end and just didn’t have the same rhythm in the second half and a lot of that comes when you’re taking the ball out of the net.”

2. Trae Young played a sensational game and nearly helped the Hawks edge the 76ers late in the fourth quarter. Young had a double-double with 34 points (13-for-30 field goals, 5-for-10 from 3-point range, 3-for-5 free throws) and 12 assists, with three steals. He finished as a plus-7. With 1:59 to play, Young beat the shot clock to sink a tough 3-pointer, making it a one-point game, 94-93, but after Embiid responded with a layup, the Hawks had essentially run out of time and had to start fouling.

3. Missing free-throw shots came back to bite the Hawks in this one. They went just 13-for-24 (54.2%) overall and 6-for-12 from the line in the fourth quarter. Clint Capela (14 points, 11 rebounds) went 2-for-6, Bogdan Bogdanovic went 0-for-2, Young went 3-for-5, Huerter went 1-for-2 and Onyeka Okongwu went 0-for-2. Entering Friday, they had averaged 83.8% from the line in the playoffs, and averaged 81.2% in the regular season.

4. This was a tough game for Bogdanovic, who ended up exiting the game early in the fourth quarter with right knee soreness (that’s the same knee he suffered an avulsion fracture in earlier this season). Before his departure, Bogdanovic had seven points and shot just 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range, with three turnovers. Interim coach Nate McMillan didn’t have an update on Bogdanovic’s status after the game.

5. The Hawks had four turnovers in the fourth quarter and couldn’t close out the series despite a prime opportunity on their sold-out, standing-room-only home court. So, to Game 7 on the road they go. Fortunately, the Hawks have already won two games in Philadelphia and feel confident they can do so again.

“We didn’t take care of business tonight, but we have another opportunity,” McMillan said. “It’s win or go home. This is a must-win situation for us. But we played well enough to put ourselves in position to play a Game 7.”

76ers 104, Hawks 99 (box score)

Stat of the game

54.2% (what the Hawks shot from the line, compared to Philly’s 69.6%)

Star of the game

Curry (had 24 points and scored 11 in the first 3:07 of the third quarter, starting Philly out strong in the second half)

Quotable

“We’ve won twice there already. ... We’ve got to lick our wounds a little bit, stand back up and go win Game 7 on the road.” (Huerter on the mindset entering Game 7)