The Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers began their battle to advance to to the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday afternoon. The Hawks took home the Game 1 win behind a huge 35-point, 10-assist performance by Trae Young, who added to his new but impressive postseason resumé with another dazzling performance in the 128-124 win.
Both teams got off to a hot start offensively, and Joel Embiid showed little effects of being held back by the slight meniscus tear that had him listed as a game-time decision for Game 1. He had seven points in the first five minutes of play.
The Sixers struggled closing out the quarter though, and had nine first-quarter turnovers by the time it was all said and done. Trae Young had 12 points and five assists in the opening period, helping lead the Hawks to a 42-27 first-quarter lead.
Feelin' it— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 6, 2021
12 points and counting... pic.twitter.com/b69cxEOZB2
The Hawks momentum continued into the second quarter, as a 17-0 run left Atlanta with a 53-27 lead with 9:22 remaining in the second.
The Hawks led 74-54 at half, setting a franchise record for points in a playoff game at half.
Young had a ridiculous 25 points and seven assists at half, fueling the Hawks offense to 63.4% shooting in the first half.
TRAE YOUNG. FEELING IT.— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2021
He's got 25 points at the half.
3Q of Game 1 underway on ABC. pic.twitter.com/68hS95NaJd
Atlanta was scorching overall as a team, shooting 13-of-23 (56.5%) from three in the first half. The 13 three-pointers were also a postseason franchise record for a half.
The 76ers made a mini-push early in the third to get back within 15, but the Hawks pushed the lead back to 25 in due time.
Philadelphia continued to make an effort to close the margin, but they struggled to get the deficit even close to single digits. The Hawks seemed to answer each push with a big basket (or two) to maintain their advantage. Atlanta held a 99-83 edge heading to the fourth quarter, though the Sixers did close the third on an 8-2 run.
Philadelphia didn’t have any more luck on the comeback early in the fourth, as the Hawks continued to respond to any push made by the Sixers. The 76ers got back within 14 for a moment, but an and-one by John Collins pushed the lead back to 17.
Yet, Philadelphia still had another run left in them. Seth Curry hit a three to make the score 118-111 with 1:41 to go. It would get even more dicey from there, with Embiid cutting the lead to just three after a late Hawks turnover.
Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a huge three with 41 seconds left to push the margin back to six, but it still wasn’t over from there either, as the Sixers got back within three again after Simmons split a pair of free throws and Tobias Harris hit a layup with 28.1 seconds leftoff of a Young turnover.
The Hawks would seemingly, finally secure the win after an incredible pass from Kevin Huerter to John Collins that resulted in the Sixers committing a clear path foul with 23.2 seconds remaining. Collins made both of his free throws to put the Hawks up five, then Young lobbed one to Collins to seal the game and put the Hawks up seven with 16.5 seconds to go.
THE EXCLAMATION FROM JOHN COLLINS pic.twitter.com/Tcm5sWRsl0— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 6, 2021
Even from there, the Sixers got as close as two points with 8.9 seconds left, but Bogdanovic made a pair of free throws to secure the 128-124 win.
The three-point line was in some ways the story of the game, as Atlanta shot 20-of-47 (42.6%) from deep while the Sixers made just 10-of-28 (35.7%).
Young led the Hawks with 35 points and 10 assists, with Bogdanovic adding 21 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Collins had 21 points of his own.
For the Sixers, Embiid had 39 points and 9 rebounds, leading all scorers in the loss. Seth Curry added 21 points, while Harris had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks and Sixers will duke out Game 2 Tuesday night from Philadelphia.