The Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks will square off in the all-important Game 3 of their second-round series at State Farm Arena on Friday. The teams split the two previous games and are level 1-1.
The 76ers will look to level the playing field by securing an away win as the Hawks emerged victorious in Game 1 at Wells Fargo Center to snatch homecourt advantage off Doc Rivers' men.
Game 2 saw the Philadelphia 76ers claim a 118-102 win to even the series. It was a closely contested match until midway through the third quarter, with the Atlanta Hawks coming back from a 21-point deficit to go 80-79 up.
However, Shake Milton's late surge down the stretch saw the 76ers go on a 14-0 run, which turned the game in their favor. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid dropped a playoff-career-high 40 points on the night.
Fixture - Philadelphia 76ers vs Atlanta Hawks | Game 3, 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Date & Time - Friday, June 11th, 2021; 7:30 PM ET (June 12th, 5:00 AM IST).
Venue - State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA.
Philadelphia 76ers Preview
Despite winning Game 2, the Philadelphia 76ers need to figure out a lot of things before heading into Friday night's matchup. Their rotation has been one of their main concerns, with their bench production being fairly low in the last two games.
The Philadelphia 76ers' second unit was scoreless until midway through the third quarter in Game 2, while the Atlanta Hawks bench had combined for 37 points in that period. If it wasn't for Shake Milton's late 14-point surge off the bench, the 76ers were facing a strong possibility of going 2-0 down in this series.
The two other key aspects that the Philadelphia 76ers need to focus on are grabbing rebounds at both ends of the floor and their free-throw shooting. They were outrebounded 37-45 in the last match, while they shot 14-of-22 from the charity stripe.
Key Player - Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid, as expected, has made a tremendous difference for the Philadelphia 76ers in this series, especially on the offensive end. He is averaging 39.5 points and 11 rebounds per contest across the first two games so far. Additionally, the 76ers have outscored the Atlanta Hawks by 27 points whenever Embiid has been on the floor.
Embiid will need to put up another high-scoring game to see his team through and snatch homecourt advantage off the Atlanta Hawks. If he does manage to do that, it will put the 76ers in the driver's seat for the contest.
Philadelphia 76ers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ben Simmons | Shooting Guard - Seth Curry | Small Forward - Danny Green | Power Forward - Tobias Harris | Center - Joel Embiid.
Atlanta Hawks Preview
The Atlanta Hawks have put up a solid fight this series so far and have continued to impress the NBA fraternity with their performances in the postseason. They will need to maintain their composure, though, if they are to advance in the 2021 NBA playoffs.
The Atlanta Hawks failed to do so in Game 2 after claiming a one-point lead late in the third quarter. They committed 17 turnovers in the match, which proved to be costly for them as they missed out on the potential opportunity to take a 2-0 lead back to Atlanta.
The Atlanta Hawks thrive on their stubborn defense and will have to make sure they don't allow the Philadelphia 76ers to score frequently as it shifts the momentum heavily on their side.
Key Player - Trae Young
Trae Young had a decent match before half-time in Game 2 but could only convert two field-goal attempts out of eight in the second half. He ended the night with 21 points, but his struggles were a key reason why the Atlanta Hawks couldn't finish off the 76ers down the stretch.
Nonetheless, he is still the Hawks' MVP and will need to put together a tremendous outing to help his team take a 2-1 series lead and successfully defend their home court.
Atlanta Hawks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Trae Young | Shooting Guard - Bogdan Bogdanovic | Small Forward - Solomon Hill | Power Forward - John Collins | Center - Clint Capela.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Atlanta Hawks Prediction
Home court advantage could play a huge role in this tie, which gives the Atlanta Hawks a slight advantage over the Philadelphia 76ers to claim the win in Game 3. The Hawks have been getting contributions from a lot of their players, which has helped them put up a good fight against the 76ers so far.
Meanwhile, the 76ers will be hoping their bench unit finds their spark in this game as it could swing the tie in their favor.
Where to watch the 76ers vs Hawks Game 3?
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks will be televised nationally on ESPN. Fans can also stream the game online on NBA League Pass via subscription.