Sixers Drop the Ball in Game 5, Give Up Lead to Hawks.
According to everyone, it should have been an easy win for the number one seed, Philadelphia 76ers. They played at home, and had come to play after a loss which usually spurs them to win the next game. But, momentum dropped suddenly in the fourth. After leading in three quarters (+14, +22, +16), the Sixers offense and defense suffered giving Atlanta the chance to come back to take Game 5.
Game Highlights: Recap
Final Score: 109-106 (ATL-PHL)
Philadelphia lost, 109-106 at a home game during one of the most important games they needed to win. Instead, they give up lead to Hawks. It will go down as one of the worst defeats in franchise history. So, how did we get here?
The first three quarters, the Sixers carried a lead over the Hawks. Embiid was on fire playing a very strong game especially in the first quarter. By the fourth, the Hawks were within 16 and catching up.
Fourth Quarter Flub
Then, with 4:23 remaining on the clock, Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams intentionally fouled Ben Simmons. It was the same hack-a-ben strategy they have been using the whole series. Rightfully, it appeared he would miss as he missed 8/10 free throws. Instead, he sunk both. Thus, giving the 76ers a 10-point lead.
By all accounts, the Sixers had this in the bag and maybe that was the problem. Maybe, they became too confident. There is a thing where Philly teams do bad when they get too much praise, the effort is laxed. However, if they have something to prove, underdog, then they surprise fans and play hard. So, maybe this is a case of too much praise and too much confidence. Finally, within the two minute mark, the Hawks managed to not only catch up but take a one point lead and that’s when it hit the fans. The Philadelphia 76ers had given the lead to the Hawks but also just lost this game. They couldn’t come back.
Player stats : The Numbers
Embiid finished with a whopping 37 points and 13 rebounds. While, Curry tallied 36 points and made 7 of 12 3-pointers. Embiid and Curry were the only two Philadelphia players to make field goals in the last 31 minutes and 26 seconds. Combined, Both scored 25 of 39 from the floor (64.1%).
All the while, the rest of the 76ers only made 10 of 36 field goals (27.8%) and scored just 33 points. A number that should have been much higher. Simmons struggled and didn’t play to his potential and Harris was pretty much gone the whole game (only scoring 4 points). Simmons, attempted just four field goals and missed 10 of his 14 free throws to finish with eight points. It was absolutely unacceptable. As the stakes are high, they needed to compete at a higher level, no excuses. Sixers should not have been in the position of giving the lead to a low production team like the Hawks. Needless to say, fans were disappointed, angry, and one threw a bottle on the court. Please stay classy, Philadelphia fans.
Now, with one game determining the fate of the 76ers, fans wonder which Sixers team they will see: the agressive competitors or the lazy surrenders. Either way, if the Sixers don’t win tonight, it’s game over. Will Simmons step up to the challenge? Is Embiid healthy enough to maintain his high production? Who else were rise and fill in gaps? Tune in tonight, Sixers vs. Hawks, 7:30pm.