Trae Young, Atlanta survive Game 1 after Joel Embiid, Philly storm back late

The Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks tipped off their second-round series at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon after both teams made short work of their opening-round opponents. If Game 1 was any indication, the series promises to be a lot tougher for both teams. The Hawks ultimately pulled out a 128-124 victory, but it was far from easy for them.

After dominating the first 24 minutes of the contest and taking a 20-point lead into halftime, the Hawks had their hands full in the second half as the Sixers made a furious comeback to cut the lead all the way down to three in the closing minutes of the contest. Despite being outscored 70-54 in the second half, Atlanta was able to hold on for the win, though coach Nate McMillan likely won’t be happy with his team’s play down the stretch of the game.


Just as he did against the New York Knicks in the first round, Trae Young led the way for Atlanta, especially early on. Young lit the Sixers up for 25 points and seven assists in the first half alone, and finished the game with 35 points and 10 assists. In the process, Young became the first Hawks player ever to record 35 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. He also got some major help from John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanović, as that duo combined for 42 points and eight rebounds.

One huge question regarding the series was answered before Game 1 even started: Would Joel Embiid play? He did, despite suffering a small tear in his meniscus against the Wizards. Embiid started for the Sixers, played a game-high 38 minutes and scored a game-high 39 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks. While Sixers fans were certainly happy to see him out on the floor, his production wasn’t quite enough to help Philadelphia pull out a win in this one.

Even though they almost gave it away at the end, the Hawks have to feel good about stealing a game in Philadelphia. However, neither team can afford to dwell on this one for too long, as the series resumes Tuesday night for Game 2. Before moving on to that game, though, here’s a look at three key takeaways from Atlanta’s Game 1 win.

1. Trae Young continues to make NBA history this postseason

Trae Young played as well as anyone in the first round of the playoffs, and that streak of strong play continued in the East semifinals. Young came out of the gate in attack mode in Game 1, and his early production set the tone for what turned out to be a big win for the Hawks. Young had 12 points and five assists in the first quarter, and followed that up with 13 points and two more assists in the second quarter. Though he was limited to just 10 points and three assists in the second half, he had already helped the Hawks build such a large lead that they were able to hold on for the win.

Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young goes up for a shot during the second half of Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Sunday, June 6, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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