The Atlanta Hawks traveled north to battle the Philadelphia 76ers in a pivotal Game 5 matchup on Wednesday night, with each team looking for a series lead. For the second straight came, the Hawks game away with a massive second-half comeback, and defeated the Sixers 109-106.
It was all Philadelphia out of the gate, as the 76ers shot 16-of-20 in the first quarter, helping fuel them to a 38-24 lead heading into the second quarter. Atlanta shot just 8-of-23 in the opening period, and 1-of-6 from three-point range.
Joel Embiid was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field in the first, scoring 17 points in 11 minutes. Trae Young was the lone bright spot for the Hawks in the first, totaling 10 points, and converting 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
Atlanta was possibly even worse in the second quarter, as they scored just 16 points in the period. The Sixers shot 7-of-23 from the floor in the quarter, and the Hawks were still unable to make any ground, losing the period by a score of 24-16, leaving them trailing 62-40 at halftime.
The Hawks shot just 31% (13-for-42) in the first half and 3-of-12 (25%) from three-point range. Despite getting to the line 17 times through two quarters, Atlanta still trailed by 22 points at the break. Perhaps most notably, the Hawks had a season-low three assists in the first half.
Embiid had a robust 24 points and 10 rebounds in just under 19 first-half minutes, dominating the game on both ends of the floor. Seth Curry continued his fine work vs. the Hawks with 11 points in 17 minutes through two quarters.
Young led Atlanta with 14 points at the half, while John Collins had 13 points and six rebounds.
Atlanta was unable to make up any notable ground in the third, as they continued to struggle with the 76ers on each end of the floor. Philadelphia led 87-68 heading to the fourth. The Hawks did outscore the Sixers 29-25 in the third, but were still struggling to slow down Curry and Embiid. Curry had 14 third quarter points, while Embiid added seven, giving him 31 for the game heading to the final period.
An extended 15-2 run vs. the 76ers bench unit across the last few moments of the third and opening moments of the fourth left the visitors down by just 11 points with 10:15 remaining, prompting a timeout from Philadelphia. Lou Williams was instrumental during the run, totaling 13 points in the early moments of the fourth.
Spark plug.— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 17, 2021
13 points in the 4th and counting... pic.twitter.com/hNPOnYskt3
From there, Young would take over as the Hawks would storm back to take the lead with an 11-0 run, capped by a three-point shooting foul drawn by Young. He would make all three free throws and the Hawks led 105-104 with 1:26 to go. Atlanta led after trailing by 24 with just a couple of minutes left in the third.
Danilo Gallinari gave the Hawks a three-point lead with a midrange jumper with 52.5 seconds to go, extending the run to 13-0 and putting the Hawks up 107-104. After a miss by each team, the Sixers had the ball coming out of a timeout, still down three, with 21.9 seconds to go.
Embiid got to the line out of the break, but missed both free throws, and the Hawks held their 107-104 lead with 10.2 seconds remaining. Atlanta would hold on from there, winning by a score of 109-106 after another pair of free throws by Young.
The Sixers did not score for over four full minutes in the final moments of the fourth, and completely collapsed after leading 85-61 with two minutes left in the third.
Young led all scorers with 39 points and seven assists in the win, while Collins added 19 points, 11 rebounds and a couple of huge blocks.
Embiid finished with 37 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win. Curry finished with 36 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
The Hawks and Sixers will be back in Atlanta Friday night, with the Hawks having a chance to end the series on their home floor.