- Atlanta’s comeback win evens series, sets up Wednesday’s crucial Game 5 tilt vs 76ers
- Joel Embiid struggled with knee pain, while Trae Young is battling a sore shoulder
- Read below for a breakdown on the Game 5 matchup and a pick on the game
It’s down to a best-of-three for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals between the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers – and it may come down to who’s left standing.
Powered by a less-than-healthy Trae Young, the Hawks evened the series 2-2 with a 103-100 win in Game 4 Sunday night, a wild come-from-behind effort that saw the home team make up an 18-point hole.
The series shifts to Philly Wednesday night, and the real question surrounds Joel Embiid’s wonky right knee and how healthy the MVP runner-up will be in the biggest game of the season.
So far, the Sixers are listed as 6.5-point favorites for Game 5.
Hawks vs 76ers Game 5 Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Atlanta Hawks||+6.5 (-114)||+220||O 223.5 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-6.5 (-105)||-270||U 223.5 (-110)|
Odds as of June 15th. Tip-off is Wednesday at 7:30pm ET
|Promo: Up to $1,050 Free!||bet now|
|Promo: $1,000 Risk-Free Bet||bet now|
|Promo: $600 Risk-Free Bet||bet now|
Young’s injury was a surprise to even head coach Nate McMillan, who only noticed the ailment when the guard took off his warmup to a heavily bandaged shoulder just before Game 4 was to tip off. The diagnosis is right shoulder soreness, but there’s little chance Young won’t be in the lineup.
Embiid isn’t on the injured list, but the Sixers’ big man retreated to the locker room in the second quarter of Game 4 fighting the effects of a meniscus tear in his right knee. Furkman Korkmaz was again in for the injured Danny Green, who is out 2-3 weeks with a calf injury.
Hawks vs 76ers Projected Starting Lineups
|Trae Young||PG||Ben Simmons|
|Bogdan Bogdanovic||SG||Seth Curry|
|Kevin Huerter||SF||Furkman Korkmaz|
|John Collins||PF||Tobias Harris|
|Clint Capela||C||Joel Embiid|
The script seemed to follow the usual course for a top seed to stomp out the upstart. With a minute left in the second quarter, the 76ers had piled up an 18-point lead, poised to take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a chance to wrap up in Philly.
Instead, the Hawks rallied, outscoring Philly 61-40 the rest of the way, now hoping they can take Game 5 and close back in Atlanta.
Last night Trae Young became the youngest player to record 18+ assists in a playoff game.
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) June 15, 2021
Young, as always, played catalyst, dropping 17 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. He didn’t shoot it great, going just 8-for-26 from the field, but he made up for it with a career-best 18 assist effort.
Bogdan Bogdanovic chipped in 22, while John Collins had 14 points and 12 boards. Every Atlanta starter scored in double digits in the win, including Kevin Huerter, who chipped in with 10 points, starting in place of Solomon Hill at the wing.
JOHN COLLINS PUTBACK.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 15, 2021
The Hawks battled defensively as well, holding the 76ers to just 32.4% shooting in the second half, and 12 total field goals. After allowing Philly to shoot 7-for-11 from three-point range in the first half, they held them to 4-for-16 shooting in the final 24 minutes, a lowly 25% clip.
Embiid or Bust
Even though we know he’s hobbled, this is the first time we’ve seen Embiid this ineffective. The 17 points and 21 boards are admirable, but he was a brutal 0-for-12 in the second half, and missed what would have been a go-ahead bucket in the final seconds to give Philly the lead.
He finished 4-for-20 from the field, his worst shooting performance in a playoff game since a 2-for-11 effort vs the Miami Heat in 2018.
Joel Embiid on his health: "I'm OK. I'm standing up, I'm walking. I finished the game. I'm going to keep getting back up, I'm going to keep fighting. … That's been my motto. Whatever happens, get back up and keep it going."
— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) June 12, 2021
But the Sixers’ hopes are pinned to the knee of the MVP, and he was their go-to option in the fourth, despite going 0-for-5 in the period. In fact, their starting five made just one field goal in the final frame.
Tobias Harris, who finished with 20 points, was 0-for-2 and Ben Simmons, who had 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, didn’t attempt a field goal.
HAWKS, SON NEFESTE! 👀 #NBAPlayoffs@ATLHawks, son saniyelerine 100-103 üstünlükle girdiği karşılaşmada Seth Curry'nin son saniye şutunu kaçırmasıyla seride durumu 2-2'ye getirmiş oldu. pic.twitter.com/ya2JHd1Uqo
— NBA Türkiye (@NBATurkiye) June 15, 2021
You have to give credit to the Sixers for keeping themselves in this one. Their defense was still solid, holding the Hawks to just 8-for-24 (33.3%) in the final frame, including 3-for-11 (27.3%) from long range. They were also just a Seth Curry triple from forcing OT.
What’s the Best Bet?
If Embiid is ineffective once again, does Doc Rivers have the stones to move away from his big man to a plan B, which will likely feature Harris as the offensive hub? It’s a problem the Sixers hope they don’t have to encounter.
Your wager really depends on your Game 4 take: if you think that was a Philly blip, you have good reason to. This was easily their lowest output in the series, putting up no less than 118 points in the other games. The Sixers are returning home, where they were 29-7 in the regular season, and 4-1 so far in the playoffs.
Trae killed Simmons-Embiid running pick&roll in every moment of the game.
Both Simmons and Embiid looked not physically fit or not focused pic.twitter.com/dVbVm0kfVz
— Matteo Berta (@matteo_berta99) June 15, 2021
Then again, we’ve seen the injuries chop down superstars in these playoffs, and it appears it’s just a battle against time before they succumb to the ailment and opponent (see Davis, Anthony, and James, LeBron for recent examples). Assuming Young’s shoulder stays strong enough, he’s currently the best healthy player in this series, until we see Embiid in Game 5.
I think the spread is healthy enough to take the points here, all things considered.
- The Pick: Hawks +6.5 (-110)