The Atlanta Hawks got off to a great start on Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Atlanta shot 72 percent from the field in the first quarter, including 6/12 from three-point range, and would lead 42-27 after one quarter and led 74-54 at halftime.
The Hawks would withstand a furious Philly rally in the fourth quarter to win 128-124 at Wells Fargo Center.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
The 76ers had a hard time slowing down Trae Young. The All-Star point guard hurt the 76ers with his shot and passing ability. Young scored 25 of his 35 points in the first half and had 10 assists. According to StatMuse, Young became the first Hawks player with 35 points and 10 assists in game since 1965.
Philadelphia had no answers for Young and his teammates. Atlanta averages 12 three-pointers made per game. But the Hawks made a franchise-record 20 three-pointers on Sunday and had Philly scrambling throughout the game. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 21 points, including five threes, Young had four threes, and John Collins also added 21 points and made three threes
Danny Green mostly guarded Young in the first half and could not contain him. The 76ers went with Ben Simmons on Young in the second half, but he picked up two quick fouls, and ultimately he was moved off of Young. However, in Game 2, Simmons wants to guard Young.
“I mean, I want to,” Simmons said about guarding Young. “If the refs aren’t going to call so many fouls and I can be physical and be 6-10, then I’ll be 6-10. But we’ll see.”
Philadelphia did get MVP finalist Joel Embiid back in this game after coming back from a torn meniscus, and he played very well. Embiid scored 39 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and as he goes forward, Embiid hopes to be able to manage the injury.
“All I have to do is keep managing it, do my best, try to get as much treatment as I can,” Embiid said. “Try to manage it to make sure it doesn’t swell up too much.”
If the Hawks shoot as they did in Game 1, they could sweep the first two games in Philly but expect a better defensive effort out of the 76ers, who has the second-rated defense in basketball.
The Hawks got what they wanted at this point, which is split, but now they have to get greedy and try to capture Game 2.