The Atlanta Hawks came out blazing fast in the first quarter, hitting eight of their first ten shots, taking a 51-47 lead into the half. However, the Philadelphia 76ers hit four out of five shots from three-point range as the third quarter began and eventually walked away from State Farm Arena with a 104-99 victory.
The sellout crowd of 16,610 came looking for a party as they expected to close out the series. But, a 12-0 run by the Sixers’ gave them a 61-51 lead with 8:53 remaining in the third.
“We didn’t take care of business tonight, but we have another opportunity,” Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said. “It’s win or go home. This is a must-win situation for us. But we played well enough to put ourselves in position to play a Game 7.”
Tobias Harris and Seth Curry scored 24 points each. Joel Embiid scored 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for Philadelphia. However, rookie Tyrese Maxey sparked the 76ers, as he scored 16 points off the bench.
“He just had guts out there, and he had confidence. The minute he stepped on the floor, he gave us that boost,” Harris told reporters following the game. “He wasn’t scared of the moment, wasn’t shy at all, got to his spots… He was the spark of the game for us as a whole.”
With Ben Simmons mired in foul trouble, Maxey played 29 minutes.
“He was great. Both offensively and defensively, he was big,” Simmons said. “That second group was big and really kept us in that game.”
Trae Young scored 34 points, dished out 12 assists, pulled down five rebounds and had three steals in game six. Kevin Huerter had 17 points, and Clint Capela had 14 points and 13 rebounds. However, forward John Collins was anonymous once again for the Hawks. He scored seven points in 37 minutes of action.
“I think guys are getting a lot of good looks and good shots, they’re just not making them,” Young said. “Shots like that are like that. It’s tough not seeing the ball go through the hole as much as we have throughout the season right now.”
Also, the Hawks converted 13 out of 24 free throws in the game, which is wildly uncharacteristic based on prior performances. Atlanta is now 2-11 all time in playoff games when shooting under 55% from the free throw line.
Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic left the game in the fourth quarter with right knee soreness and was ruled out.
Notably, with 4:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, John Collins and Embiid were involved in a skirmish underneath the Sixers’ basket. Hawks center Bruno Fernando, who has not played a minute in this series, was ejected for leaving the bench. He will be suspended for game seven.
Tech on Embiid and Collins. Meanwhile, Knuck if You Buck is blasting. pic.twitter.com/EnQDWjUW7y— The Atlanta Voice (@theatlantavoice) June 19, 2021
In another sublime turn of fate, Ben Simmons made two of four free throw attempts, all in the fourth quarter. Also, the lights illuminating the court went out with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
THE LIGHTS ARE OUT!!!#TrueToAtlanta #TheAtlantaVoice #NBA pic.twitter.com/p89X1WPF0B— The Atlanta Voice (@theatlantavoice) June 19, 2021
Game seven will be played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, with tip-off at 8:00 PM on TNT. It will be the fourth game played in a week. If Atlanta wins, they will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the 2015-2016 season. If Philadelphia wins, they’ll make their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals since the 2000-2001 season.