Hawks Overcome Halftime Deficit, Defeat Sixers in Game 4
Philadelphia was all smiles as they entered halftime of their game 4 matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. After all, they outscored the Hawks in each of the first two quarters in order to build a 13 point lead. Their defense was doing a great job containing the explosive scorers on the Hawks roster. Ben Simmons was flirting with another triple double. Simply put, the Sixers could smell blood in the water and hoped to close the game out strongly and bring a commanding 3-1 lead back to their homecourt.
Alas, the Sixers were unable to hold their lead and the Atlanta Hawks clawed their way back into the game with a dominant third quarter. They cut Philadelphia’s edge to a mere two points by the fourth quarter, eventually sealing the deal after point blank misses from both Embiid and Simmons late in the contest. The missed shot by Embiid was the cherry on top of what may very well be remembered as his worst shooting half of all time. He set the wrong kind of record by going 0-12 from the field in the second half, which is the most attempts without a make in a playoff game of the last 25 years.
For the first time all series, the meniscus injury that Embiid suffered in the Sixers first round series against the Washington Wizards, appeared to significantly alter his play. He quite clearly didn’t have the lift on many of his post possessions, most notably his failed conversion with 8.8 seconds left in the game. He did manage an impressive 21 rebounds in this outing, but his shooting woes (4-20 from the field) sunk Philadelphia’s chances down the stretch.
Ben Simmons ended the game an assist shy of a triple double (11 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists), but expended the bulk of his energy on the defensive end of the floor guarding Trae Young. At this job, both he and teammate Matisse Thybulle were serviceable, holding Atlanta’s young star to less than 33% on field goal attempts (8-26). However, Young still had a massive impact on the game with 18 assists. His running mate, John Collins, helped swing the momentum of this game with three powerful dunks in the third quarter that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The Hawks leaned hard on their starters, with all five playing at least 35 minutes. They have clearly found the rotation they’re comfortable with as only two of their bench players, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams managed double-digit minutes. Doc Rivers still went ten deep on his bench but may need to tighten the rotation to close out this series successfully.
The series will swing back to Philadelphia for a pivotal game 5 on Wednesday, June 16th with a 7:30 PM tip off.