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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JUNE 18: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half of game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at State Farm Arena on June 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo : Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia 76ers kept their NBA title dreams alive as they edged past the Atlanta Hawks 104-99 in Game 6 on Friday night. Seth Curry and Tobias Harris led the way for the Sixers who have now evened the Eastern Conference Semifinal series at three games apiece.
After a stunning collapse in Game 5, the Sixers headed to Atlanta knowing that a defeat would end their season once and for all. It was the Hawks, however, who started Game 6 strong, as they scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points. Kevin Huerter, who scored 17 points, stretched the Hawks’ lead to 12 points following a steal and a free throw. Trae Young brought the lead back up to 12 after draining a long three-pointer to give Atlanta a 25-13 edge.
Maxey provides boost off the bench
The Sixers finally woke up from their offensive slumber as they unleashed a 16-4 run to knot the game at 29. Tyrese Maxey provided the much-needed spark for the Sixers who had to overcome Ben Simmons and Harris’ early foul trouble. The Hawks, however, responded with their own 10-0 run with Trae Young and John Collins back on the floor for Atlanta. The Hawks entered the half-time interval with a 51-47 advantage.
Fortunately for the Sixers, the momentum quickly swung their way at the start of the second half. Philadelphia opened the third quarter with four consecutive three-pointers, recording a 12-0 run to open up an eight-point lead. They stretched that advantage to 68-57 following a jumper by Embiid. Atlanta finished the third quarter strong, though, cutting the lead to just four points, 80-76 entering the fourth and final period.
The Hawks came close several times, even cutting the lead to one point after Trae Young drilled a long three-pointer on the right wing just before the shot clock expired with just two minutes remaining in the game. This time around, the Sixers were able to preserve their lead as they avoided elimination in a pressure-packed setting on the road.
Sixers bury free throws this time around
Free throws by Embiid and Maxey steadied the ship for the Sixers who restored their five-point lead at 98-93. Tobias Harris then sealed the deal for Philadelphia, canning critical free throws down the stretch to help the Sixers force a Game 7.
Seth Curry provided huge production for Philadelphia in Game 6, scoring 24 points, including six three-pointers. Harris rebounded from his awful Game 5 showing, scoring 24 points on 9 of 20 shooting from the field. Embiid recorded yet another double-double, finishing the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
It was a disappointing defeat for the Hawks who will need to replicate their Game 5 victory on the road in Philadelphia in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Trae Young did his best to finish the series in Atlanta, scoring 34 points and dishing out 12 assists in Game 6. Danilo Gallinari scored 16 points off the bench for the Hawks.
Quite concerning for Atlanta is the injury situation of Bogdan Bogdanovic. He left the game in the fourth quarter with right knee soreness and didn’t return. He scored just seven points in Game 6.
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