The Atlanta Hawks do it again.
Behind 35 points and 10 assists from Trae Young, the Hawks held on to 128-124 victory in Game 1 of their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers to steal homecourt advantage.
Young was one of five players on the Hawks in double figures, the others being John Collins (21), Bogdan Bogdanovic (21), Kevin Huerter (15) and Clint Capela (11).
Joel Embiid led the way for the 76ers with 39 points and nine rebounds while Ben Simmons went for 17 points, 10 assists and four steals.
For more on the game, some takeaways at the buzzer...
1. Joel Embiid gives it a go
Embiid suffered a "small lateral meniscus tear" in Game 4 of Philadelphia's first-round series with the Washington Wizards.
Embiid's status for this series was unknown a few days ago, but the 76ers announced ahead of Game 1 that he was questionable for the series opener. He was then upgraded to a game-time decision before ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news shortly before tipoff that he would play and start.
If you want to learn more about the injury Embiid is dealing with, our medical expert broke it all down here.
2. Trae Young doing what he does best
What a start for Young.
After lighting up the New York Knicks in the first round, Young came out hot in Game 1 against the 76ers. He played the opening nine minutes of the first quarter, scoring 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and dishing out five assists.
Young put on a pick-and-roll clinic. He punished the 76ers from inside and out, draining a couple of smooth floaters and a couple of tough pull-up 3s.
Trae Young leading the dance in pick and roll right now. Embiid is in a drop and with Green going over, he's got all the space to make the decision. Keeps Green from recovering, goes right into a floater before getting too deep vs. Embiid. pic.twitter.com/WPdZXL9OV0- Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) June 6, 2021
When the 76ers collapsed on his drives, Young dimed up his teammates.
V I S I O N pic.twitter.com/GnDE2jPtoA- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 6, 2021
When Young took a seat on the bench with 2:38 remaining in the first quarter, the Hawks had a 34-22 lead.
Reminder: Young led the league with 13.9 points per game out of the pick-and-roll this season. He scored at a rate of 0.98 points per possession, ranking in the 77th percentile. He's basically as good as it gets on those plays.
3. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
As good as Young was, the Hawks didn't need him to build what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.
The Hawks entered the second quarter up 42-27. They then went on an 11-0 run to open the period to take a 26-point lead, their largest of the game.
Turnovers were a problem for the 76ers. After committing nine in the first quarter, they committed four turnovers in the first couple minutes of the frame alone.
It ... wasn't pretty.
The steal AND jam‼️ pic.twitter.com/o3jcaiXsbI- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 6, 2021
4. The floater king
Another stat to know: Young made 4.0 floaters per game this season, the most in the league.
The fun part is Young has mastered how to disguise his floater, much like James Harden has.
Give him too much space, and it will be death by a thousand floaters.
Floater game >>> pic.twitter.com/Z9UmPQvc7a- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 6, 2021
But shade towards him even the slightest, and he's lobbing the ball to Collins or Capela for a dunk.
Nothing new here 😤 pic.twitter.com/mwRc1ua6pY- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 6, 2021
The 76ers switched up their coverage on Young at the half. Whereas Danny Green guarded him almost exclusively in the first half, Simmons and Matisse Thybulle got some more time on him in the second half. The 76ers were also much more aggressive trapping him in pick-and-rolls to get the ball out of his hands.
It'll be interesting to see how that changes Philadelphia's approach in Game 2.
5. A record-breaking half
The Hawks had 74 points on 13-for-23 shooting from 3-point range at the half.
Per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated, both of those - the 74 points and 13 made 3s - mark a new franchise record for the Hawks in the playoffs.
Young led the charge with 25 points on 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point range. Bogdanovic was Atlanta's second-leading scorer with 11 points on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the perimeter, followed by Lou Williams, who scored eight points on 2-for-2 shooting from deep off the bench.
An absolute clinic.
6. Getting defensive
This was an incredible play from Simmons:
Ben Simmons effort level 💯@sixers hanging tough on ABC. pic.twitter.com/OKkD0VwSXY- NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2021
There's a reason he is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year.
7. Staying positive
A few encouraging signs for the 76ers:
- Embiid looked about as good as anyone could've expected. Not only did he score 39 points and pull down nine rebounds, he didn't look like he was laboring at all. It goes without saying, but the 76ers are going to need him to make it out of this series.
- Thybulle gave the 76ers some encouraging minutes. He had a hand in Young cooling off in the second half and he was Philadelphia's leading scorer off the bench with 10 points. Doc Rivers might have to find more minutes for him in Game 2.
- The 76ers fought until the very end, using an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter to make it a three-point game with 1:01 to go. It wasn't quite enough, but they dialed it up on both ends, harassing the Hawks defensively with a fullcourt press and finding their rhythm offensively.
8. Bogdan Bogdanovic saves the day
That 11-0 run by the 76ers? Bogdanovic snapped it with a big-time shot.
Bogdanovic with a CLUTCH triple 🥶 pic.twitter.com/5iZDpnbu3a- NBA TV (@NBATV) June 6, 2021
9. What's next
The 76ers and Hawks are back in action on Tuesday, June 8 (ET).
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