5 Takeaways from the Sixers Game Six win in Atlanta
The Sixers are back in action tonight for Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks in South Philadelphia. Plenty more on tonight coming. Before we get there, let’s take a moment and look at what happened in Game 6 last Friday.
Not Dead Yet
Despite the opinions and even wishes of some “Sixer Fans” on Twitter, the Sixers handled business down in Atlanta. It was far from a good game for Philly, but the biggest takeaway from a “Win or Go Home” is the victory itself. This was the first time this series without a lopsided lead occurring for the majority of the game, something Sixers fans may have actually been relieved about. Philly survived another amazing Trae Young game, where he hit four threes from the Superdome. Young’s final line was 34 points, 12 assists, and 50-percent shooting from the line. Outside of Young the biggest part of the Sixer win was their defense against the players around Trae. Atlanta, a team that we all know relies heavily on the three-ball, shot just 10-32 in the game, 5-22 if you take Young’s triples out of the equation. None of this matters though, as all eyes move back to South Philly for the do-or-die game seven.
Seth Curry Magnificent Yet Again
There is no doubt in my mind anymore, Seth Curry has been the best player in this series for the Sixers. Every game Seth has shown an improved offensive skillset, taking guys off the dribble into good mid ranged jump shots and even going to the basket for layups. All of this, while shooting his best from downtown this entire season. The stat-line speaks for itself, with Curry shooting above 60 percent from the field, and around 59 percent from three across the six games. Game six was no different for Seth, as finished tied for high man for the Sixers with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
What makes his performance even more spectacular is Curry hitting six threes in the win. It seemed like whenever Young would nail a dagger three, Curry would storm right back down the court to answer and keep the momentum with Philly. It is why the Sixers, who trailed by as much as 12 in the first, were only down four going into halftime. When they came back out of the tunnel, the Sixers went on a crazy 14-0 run to take the lead back. What was Seth Curry doing during that run? Well, he hit three triples, and assisted on every other point during the run. Seth Curry will never be the main star of this team, but there is no doubt that he has been the player of the series.
No Stage is Too Big for Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey had certainly gotten the hearts and support of many Sixers fans for his play in the playoffs before game six. The rookie had already shown great development in a weird season to be a rookie, and even performed when the team needed him in the playoffs. However, nobody expected him to step up like he did on Friday. With Ben Simmons struggling once again and running into early foul trouble, the Sixers called on Maxey for a spark that could get them out of the early hole they dug. Maxey, like he’s done all season, gave the Hawks defense fits with his speed and agility that counters the style of offense usually ran by the Sixers. He constantly beat his man off the dribble and finished at the hoop with difficult contested shots. Once he’d helped the Sixers grab the lead in the third, Maxey got a chance to show off his developed outside jumper when he knocked down back-to-back threes, even if one of them got waived off for stupid reasons.
What really showed Maxey’s star-power though, came in crunch time. With the game close, under a minute, Doc Rivers trusted Maxey to be on the court when the Hawks were forcing Philly to close the game out at the foul line. Maxey would end up getting his moment to shine, getting sent to the line with the Sixers up three. Up until this point Maxey had only hit one of two free throws, and with the Sixers only up three Maxey would need to drain both. Like a seasoned vet, Maxey stepped to the line and knocked both down, giving him a final stat line of 16 points and 7 boards. I will admit prior to this game I still had reservations about Maxey in the spotlight so early, but after last night, they are all out the window.
I know, weird to have a Hawks player other than Trae Young as a talking point but here me out. If you’ve been following my breakdowns on the Sixers-Hawks series you know that Seth Curry has been doing a good job containing Bogdan Bogdanovic towards the end of this series. Game six was no different, as Bogdan Bogdanovic went a cold 3-for-11 from the field and 1-6 from downtown for just seven points in the Hawks’ loss. While Curry’s ability to hold his own and force Bogdanovic off the line helps, it seems his struggles might not just be due to his new defender. Early in the third Bogdanovic was forced out of the game, and was later made out for the rest of the game due to “right knee soreness.”
While Bogdanovic has certainly been cold in the series, he’s always found a way to make Philly pay late in games, and in the fourth quarter of game six Bogdan was forced to sit. We won’t ever know how much impact his absence had on the Sixers holding onto their lead, but it can’t be overstated. Currently Bogdanovic’s status for game seven is unknown, as he undergoes treatment for his right knee.
The Most Lopsided Referee-ing of the Sixers Run to Date.
Call me a whining baby for this all you want, but the calls in that game were absolutely ludicrous for a ton of reasons. I’m not even here to argue the and one call when Joel was put into a chokehold while getting baptized by John Collins. While it looked bad from certain still images, Embiid did jump and make contact with Collins in the air. No, there is much more to sift through. For starters, Joel went to the paint early like he usually does, and got tons of contact going for layups without calls. Then on the other end, Trae Young can flop his butt after every shot and get to the line for ticky tacky touches. That’s why you saw Embiid go to jump shots and fadeaways constantly throughout the game, because he knew he wouldn’t get the same calls on the inside. I’m not asking these refs to get every call right, they are human, but call the game the same both ways.
When the first free throws from Embiid, Harris, and Simmons came in the fourth quarter, there’s something wrong. When the Sixers shot a total of three foul shots through three quarters, there’s a problem. The true icing on the cake came when Joel got an offensive call for an accidental elbow on Collins on a put-back layup. While that call is stupid in itself, it got even worse. Embiid and Collins both go to the ground, with Embiid landing on Collins. Collins proceeds to shove Embiid off him initiating a fight, when both guys stand-up, Embiid puts his hands out and is shoved into Collins by Trae Young. The entire time Embiid is standing there with his arms out, yet they call double techs. I can only pray to whatever basketball gods at this point the refs get better for game seven, or I may pop a blood vessel mid-way through the contest.
Mandatory Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant.