The Atlanta Hawks’ latest residence success gives good motive for optimism of their Japanese Convention semifinal collection in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers
ATLANTA — The Hawks return to Atlanta beaming with confidence of their Japanese Convention semifinal collection in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers regardless of their incapability to decelerate, a lot much less cease, Joel Embiid.
The 76ers massive man has scored 79 factors within the first two video games at Philadelphia to open the collection, which is tied 1-1 heading into Friday’s Recreation 3 in Atlanta — the place the Hawks have gained 13 consecutive video games.
It is the longest energetic residence successful streak within the NBA.
“I hope followers are able to rock the home on Friday,” Trae Younger mentioned after Philadelphia’s 118-102 win in Recreation 2 on Tuesday evening.
The Hawks will want their followers — however additionally they know they should appropriate some points on the courtroom.
They anticipate higher outdoors taking pictures from Younger and his backcourt associate Bogdan Bogdanovic. And till they discover a defensive mixture to gradual Embiid, Atlanta should do a greater job of containing his teammates.
After ending second to Denver’s Nikola Jokic in MVP voting introduced earlier than Recreation 2, Embiid had 40 factors and 13 rebounds. The 7-foot Embiid, listed at 280 kilos, has merely overpowered Atlanta middle Clint Capela (6-10, 240).
Embiid acknowledges the problem that awaits the 76ers in Atlanta.
“The collection is barely 1-1,” Embiid mentioned. “There’s nothing to actually be pleased about. We have now to go over there and attempt to win each and take one in every of them at a time.”
Embiid is taking part in with a cartilage tear in his proper knee.
“I’m attempting to do one of the best I can, restricted motion and all,” Embiid mentioned.
If Embiid has been restricted, it hasn’t been apparent. He was energetic in Recreation 2, even extending his defensive presence to assist disturb Younger’s outdoors taking pictures.
“Clearly he’s very expert,” Capela mentioned. “He’s among the best at his place. Simply attempt to make it as laborious as you’ll be able to for him.”
However Embiid cannot do it alone. Atlanta proved that in its 128-124 Recreation 1 win, exhibiting that even a dominant efficiency by Embiid alone isn’t sufficient. He had 39 factors in that loss.
With Younger and Bogdanovic combining to make solely 3 of 13 3-point pictures in Recreation 2, Philadelphia’s Shake Milton made 4 3s whereas taking part in solely 14 minutes off the bench.
Milton was a difference-maker, however Embiid had extra assist in the 76ers’ balanced Recreation 2 assault. Tobias Harris had 22 factors, together with 16 within the first quarter. Seth Curry had 21 factors whereas making 5 3s.
The Hawks might obtain a lift on Friday evening if De’Andre Hunter, the workforce’s high perimeter defender, can return after being held out with proper knee soreness.
“Clearly he’s attempting his greatest to get again on the ground,” Younger mentioned. “You undoubtedly miss his presence on the defensive finish. … His knee is fairly swollen. I don’t blame him.”
Nonetheless, the Hawks know they need to make it harder for Embiid to attain.
“He’s an issue down within the publish,” mentioned Hawks coach Nate McMillan. “We’re attempting to combine up our protection with him. At occasions he’s getting too deep. Our double groups aren’t getting there fast sufficient. … He just about has had his approach within the first two video games down on the block.”
The Hawks anticipate there to be lot of vitality at State Farm Area, the place their final misplaced got here on April 15 in opposition to Milwaukee. Atlanta gained each residence video games whereas taking its first-round collection in opposition to the New York Knicks in 5 video games.
However regardless of Atlanta’s latest residence dominance, the 76ers are favored by 1 1/2 factors in Recreation 3, in keeping with FanDuel Sportsbook.
Atlanta is seeking to beat the chances and proceed to exceed playoff expectations.
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