The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Washington Wizards in five games to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs to face the Atlanta Hawks.
During the regular season, the Sixers beat the Hawks in two of the three meetings. The 76ers were missing eight players when they lost to the Hawks back in January.
Below is what the 76ers must do to defeat the Atlanta Hawks and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
How the Sixers defeat the Hawks: Make 3-pointers
Both these teams are among the best in the NBA at making 3-point shots. It is vital for the Sixers to keep up with the Hawks with the long ball. Seth Curry and Danny Green will have a key role in the 3-point game. Each game in the series could be decided by which team made more 3-point shots.
If the Sixers want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals these are three things they must do. A lot of peolpe think this will be an easy series, but the Hawks will give the Sixers a run for their money and prove they are no laughing matter.
How the Sixers defeat the Hawks: Slow down Trae Young
There’s no denying Trae Young is one of the best shooters in the NBA. He’s been known as a highly efficient scorer since his college days at Oklahoma. In the first round against the New York Knicks Young averaged 29.2 points per game. What makes Young such a threat is he can shoot it from anywhere on the court.
Unlike the Knicks, the 76ers have defenders capable of slowing down Young. Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle are great perimeter defenders, and if necessary Tyrese Maxey’s defense has improved in the playoffs.
In my opinion, if Joel Embid doesn’t play Thybulle should guard Young and Simmons should defend center Clint Capela because of his height.
The 76ers cannot allow Young to beat them. They must force Young to pass the ball to the supporting cast.
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How the Sixers defeat the Hawks: Fill in for Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid suffered a small lateral meniscus tear in Game 4 against the Wizards, which resulted in him missing Game 5. The team would love for Embiid to return for Game 1 of this series, but it’s probably unlikely to happen. My guess is Embiid will sit out and if they struggle too much without him, then he will play in Game 2.
Ben Simmons started Game 5 against the Wizards at center while Matisse Thybulle made his first start of the series. I think for Game 1 the Sixers should use the same starting lineup if Embiid misses the first game.
In Game 5, the Sixers had a defense designed to stop the perimeter. Playing small with Maxey and Thybulle could prevent Young from running around.