Just when you thought the Atlanta Hawks couldn't impress anymore in the NBA playoffs, Trae Young led his side past the Philadelphia 76ers in game five on Wednesday night despite being down by 26 points in the third quarter.
It was truly a comeback for the ages and proved the grit and scoring options this Hawks side have despite being written off in this series. It also reminded NBA fans how enjoyable the playoffs can be when an underdog pulls off an unbelievable turnaround.
In this article, we will look at where this Hawks comeback falls into in the greatest lead turnarounds in playoff history and which team tops the list.
Counting down the NBA's greatest comebacks in playoff history
#5 Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers, 2017
While playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, there wasn't a single team in the Eastern Conference that could advance past LeBron James in the playoffs. A year after their miraculous comeback while down 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs made tough work of their first-round matchup against the Pacers.
Led by superstar Paul George, the Pacers pushed the Cavaliers close in games one and two, losing by just one and six points respectively. In game three in Indiana, however, George's side rushed out to a commanding 25-point lead at half-time before extending that to 26 in the third quarter. But then the NBA's 'King' took over.
LeBron James, as he did so often while in Cleveland, put the team on his back and led them to an improbable 119-114 victory. He scored 28 second-half points, dished out seven assists and grabbed six rebounds while playing every minute.
#4 Atlanta Hawks vs Philadelphia 76ers, 2021
The Atlanta Hawks tied the fourth-best comeback in NBA playoffs history on Wednesday night when they overcame the Philadelphia 76ers. Their win, though, was arguably the most special on this list considering the stature of their opposition.
The Sixers team currently has an NBA MVP runner-up and three All-Defensive Team of the Year members. Yet they still managed to blow a 26-point second-half lead and now trail the Hawks 3-2 in the series as it returns to Atlanta for game six.
After looking so composed on home court and in complete control, the 76ers implosion was remarkable. Doc Rivers' team missed eight free-throws after building their commanding lead, turned the ball over ten times and shot at just 38% from the field. They allowed Trae Young to get hot while Lou Williams came off the bench to do what he does best - creating havoc for the opposition in the clutch and scoring 15 points on 23 minutes.