By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ersn were riding a wave of momentum as they entered game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks. They had home court advantage and confidence after grinding out a victory over the Hawks on Friday. Unfortunately for them all that did not matter. Even though they were able to stifle Atlanta’s offense. Mental mistakes and turnovers would ultimately cost them a chance to make it into the Eastern Conference Finals. As Atlanta beat them 103-96.
It did not start out well for the Sixers. Atlanta jumped on them early and they were missing some early shots. The Hawks took full advantage of Philly’s early misses as they were able to get out to an early lead. They were powered by Kevin Huerter. Who stepped up for his teammate Trae Young who Philly successfully stifled. He scored 27-points and single-handedly kept his team in the game. Every time Philly would go on a run he had an answer. If it wasn’t him Atlanta was able to take full advantage of the Philly being sloppy with the ball. They had 17 turnovers which propelled Atlanta’s offense and allowed them to continue to gain confidence.
Despite those 17 turnovers Philly was still in the game. They were powered by center Joel Embiid (31-points) and forward Tobias Harris (24-points). The duo did all they could to keep the Sixers in it. They combined for 56-points. Both were able to power the Sixers to a late four-point lead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for them they couldn’t make-up for the turnover differential and some bad defensive play in the paint. Both ultimately led to a late game turnover which led to an Atlanta dunk which sealed Philly’s fate.
On the team’s performance and the season, “This team last year got swept in the first round. We had a chance to go to the championship, to the Eastern finals. I’m not going to make this into a negative year,” said Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
The Atlanta Hawks played like the more experienced team and Philly crumbled under pressure. The Hawks will now head to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Milwaukee Bucks for the first time since 2015, and the Sixers will be looking to improve a team that was the number one seed. but is in desperate need of a solid perimeter shot creator. Daryl Morey , Elton Brand, and Coach Rivers will probably need to remake this team so it doesn’t waste another big-time performance by Embiid and Harris.
The biggest question the Sixers will face now is can Ben Simmons be the running mate Joel Embiid needs or is he a liability?