Sixers-Hawks Game 1, a game to forget

Joel Embiid, Danny Green, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, Danny Green, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 128-124 at the Wells Fargo Center. In Sunday’s 1 PM matinee, Trae Young was magical, finishing with 35 points on 11-for-23 shooting and tallying 10 assists. Atlanta lit it up from deep all afternoon, going 42.6 percent from beyond the arc on 20-for-47 shooting as a team.

The Sixers struggled to contain Young, but Danny Green in particular had a rough go at defending the rising star. Joel Embiid showed his frustrations late in the fourth quarter as Trae Young wasted clock by rolling the ball all the way to halfcourt. JoJo’s Displeasure came from Green not pressing Trae and allowing him to walk up the floor calmly, running EIGHTEEN SECONDS off the game clock with 4:30 to go.

To the Sixers’ credit, they brought it within single digits after being down 26. That is before Bogdan Bogdonavic hit a dagger 3-pointer in the closing seconds and shushed the Philly faithful.

How do the Sixers move forward after such a poor effort in Game 1?

A big question mark in this one is why Danny Green was assigned to Trae Young instead of the DPOY candidate Ben Simmons. Ben was asked about this after the game and his response was if the refs allow him to be 6-foot-10 and more physical, then he would love for that to be his assignment. I agree with Ben in that the whistles were definitely soft on Sunday afternoon. The issue lies, however, with the 3-point shooting. The Sixers shot 10-for-29 as a team (34.5 percent) from 3. For Atlanta, it was a whole different story. Guys like John Collins, (3-for-4) Kevin Huerter (3-for-6) and Lou Williams (2-for-4) shot it efficiently all night long.

But where the Sixers struggled the most was from the charity stripe. Free throw shooting wins and loses you ball games. The sixers were 24-for-35 from the line (68.6 percent), wheras the Hawks shot 20-for-21 from the charity stripe (95.2 percent).

Game 2 is quickly approaching, and the adjustments the Sixers need to make revolve around guarding the perimeter well. They were very lackadaisical in closing out on shooters and had very lazy contests.

Philly fans don’t seem to be scared of Atlanta… But maybe they should be. Nate McMillan has done a heck of a job and his teams defend. The Hawks will be no joke in this series. Sixers in 6!

Next. 3 lessons from lousy Game 1 vs. Hawks. dark