Win Tonight or Die Trying: 76ers-Hawks Game Preview, Odds, and Predictions
The Philadelphia 76ers are in a must-win situation tonight. It’s Game 6 of their series against the Hawks. They have lost the last two games in historic fashion and now face elimination and the end of an era to Philadelphia basketball. The Hawks rallied from being down 26 points in Game 5. They were down 18 points entering the fourth quarter. They won the game 109-106 and took a 3-2 series lead. None of the above matters anymore. Everything that the 76ers have been working towards comes down to tonight and tonight only.
Last game offensively, the 76ers killed themselves. In the second half of the game, Tobias Harris was 0-for-4. Ben Simmons, was 0-for-1 and just 2-6 from the foul line. Joel Embiid finished with 37 points and 13 rebounds. Seth Curry scored 36 points. They became the first Sixers teammates to score 35+ points in a playoff game in 31 years. Unfortunately for Embiid and Curry, no Sixers player outside of Joel Embiid and Seth Curry had a field goal the entire second half.
The Sixers bench was outscored 30-2 in the second half while the Hawks bench shot 13-for-17 in the second half. The bench only managed two points thanks to a pair of foul shots made by Shake Milton. Doc Rivers holds a large share of blame with the bench. His rotations simply haven’t worked. When you are running a bench unit with a struggling Tobias Harris, there’s little-to-no offense being generated.
Defensively, the Sixers allowed Atlanta to shoot 16-for-22, nearly 73% from the floor, in the fourth quarter to drop a 40 burger and steal the second game in a row from the Sixers.
If all of this sounds crazy to you, you’re not alone. It’s hard to even comprehend the historical losses the Sixers endured over the last two games against the Hawks. It’s also hard to believe that the Sixers will allow this to happen yet again.
Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, although flawed, are better basketball players than they have been the last two games. That’s just a fact. They didn’t all of the sudden forget how to play basketball against the Atlanta Hawks. The law of averages demand that they will perform closer to the mean tonight.
The Sixers need to string together 48 minutes of solid basketball. Doc Rivers, who is making a name for himself by blowing leads in the playoffs, needs to make sure that his rotations are on point tonight and he is making the correct in-game adjustments. The Hawks are not winning basketball games against the Sixers. The Sixers are collapsing and losing basketball games.
Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons have all been through enough playoff games to understand the implications of losing tonight against the Hawks. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Sixers will lose this game tonight.
|Philadelphia 76ers||-2.5 (-112)||-144||O 221.5 (-110)|
|Atlanta Hawks||+2.5 (-108)||+122||U 221.5 (-112)|
I have said this a million times since the end of Game 5. The 76ers are the better basketball team in this series. I have full confidence that they will come out and handle business tonight, reset, and win Game 7 back in Philadelphia. From there, we have ourselves a clean slate and everyone can regroup and prepare for the Eastern Conference Finals. Win tonight or die trying.
Philadelphia 76ers -2.5 | O 221.5 (-110)
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY SPORTS