After the Suns swept the Nuggets 4-0, the next semifinal tie that could face its final stretch was this Sixers-Hawks, with Philadelphia 2-1 after winning the last two games, including the first in Atlanta, and giving the feeling of having the series where they wanted after the first day’s stumble at home. That’s what it looked like before the match started and also at the end of the second quarter, when they achieved their biggest advantage of the match (42-60). But this is not mathematics and calculating accounts ahead of time often goes wrong.
“We have stopped passing by and we have dedicated ourselves to making war on our own each one”, explained after the meeting Doc Rivers about the second part of his team. Of course, something changed after the break, because that +18 had vanished after the Hawks’ first basket in the fourth quarter (83-82), a triple by Bogdanovic. The Serbian was the perfect supporting actor for Trae Young, the true protagonist of the film. Even if in scoring it was a choral work (John Collins 14, Clint Capella 12, Kevin Huerter 10, the bench another 20 …), the base was the soul of the comeback and, once it was achieved, of the triumph. And that thing did not start well. In the previous warm-up he noticed right shoulder problems, every time he sat on the bench they applied heat to him in the area and his start of the game was anything but hopeful: 0/5 in shots and obvious discomfort in the mobility of the arm.
The base, however, was redone like the greats. Like those players he begins to look more and more like. Even if it ended with an 8/26, I was going to put the shot that was going to put them ahead definitely (99-98 at 1:17 from the end, then he would increase the income to three points with two free throws), but above all he was going to dispense 18 assists, a mark with which he equals the top of his career. But the figure carries more with it. Already is the youngest player in history to deal as many basket passes in a playoff game (The previous one was Spud Webb, precisely with the Hawks). Plus, his 18 assists and 25 points are a combination no one has had in the postseason since Tim Hardaway did it in 1991.
The Sixers now have to worry about. Joel Embiid is doing the rubber physically speaking. Tonight it was perfectly noticeable. In the second quarter he went to the locker room with knee problems and in the second half he signed a 0/12 in field shots. The Cameroonian, don’t forget, it is attached to a cartilage from his broken knee. And you don’t need to remember your history with that joint. “I guess you already know. I don’t need to explain it again. I’m just trying to do my best. “Embiid told the press about his march to the locker room, confirming that it was his knee that caused his absence and his subsequent performance. He now has two days, like the whole team, to recover physically and spiritually. The series returns to Philadelphia tomorrow and the moment seems to have completely changed. But you know, do not do many accounts.