Respective winners of New York and Washington, Atlanta and Philadelphia faced each other this Sunday for the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals. In search of the title, the Sixers could count on Joel Embiid, injured in the back in the first round, but could not reverse the match, lost (128-124).
Philadelphia absent in the first half
For the first game of the series, Doc Rivers’ men were playing at home and had to impose their status as leaders of the East entry. But during the first 24 minutes of the game, Atlanta didn’t have to push. The Sixers lost 9 balls in the first quarter, were absent in defense (up to 26 points difference in the second quarter) and could not contain the insolent address of Trae Young (25 points and 7 assists at half-time). Philadelphia conceded 74 points in the first half but was able to regain its level to return to three small points (121-118) two minutes from time.
But despite a good game from Joel Embiid (36 points, 8 rebounds), the Sixers started too far to open the scoring in the series. Importantly, Ben Simmons’ teammates missed 11 free throws (24/35) as the Hawks converted 20 of their 21 shots.
Trae Young takes his teammates in his wake
Trae Young seems to be an experienced play-off player as his level of play (30 points on average since the first round) is surprising for a novice at this level. Against the Sixers, the one who was traded for Luka Doncic in the 2018 Draft once again guided his team to a resounding success. By accumulating 35 points and 10 assists, the leader of Atlanta made speak his offensive accuracy at the same time as his teammates proved to be devilishly effective. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points including a decisive three in the last minute of the match. John Collins (18 points), Kevin Huerter (15 points) and Clint Capela were there.
The second game of the series will take place on the night of Monday to Tuesday (1:30), in Philadelphia.