- The Atlanta Hawks look to regain control of their second round playoff series as narrow underdogs against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (ESPN, 7:30pm EST)
- Philadelphia has turned things on in the second half of games in the series, while Atlanta has been left looking for answers after halftime
- Read below for a look at the matchup and a pick on Game 3
NBA Playoff momentum can be a fickle thing.
The Atlanta Hawks punched the Philadelphia 76ers in the mouth in the first half of Game 1 to kick off their second round playoff series. By the end of the game, they needed some late game heroics from Bogdan Bogdanovic to preserve a win that should have never been in doubt.
Atlanta kept things interesting in the first half of Game 2, but fell apart again in the second without anyone to step up to save the day.
With the series tied at a game apiece, sportsbooks are expecting the Hawks to find the late-game juice they’ve been missing with a return to State Farm Arena. Philly is still favored by a point-and-a-half on the road, the smallest margin of the series, after winning by 16 points on Tuesday.
76ers vs Hawks Game 3 Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-1.5 (-112)||-120||O 223.5 (-112)|
|Atlanta Hawks||+1.5 (-108)||+102||U 223.5 (-118)|
Odds as of June 10th
Torn Menisci Abound
Much attention has been paid to the partially torn meniscus in Joel Embiid’s right knee, but he has been able to continue playing with it.
Joel Embiid, playing on a torn meniscus in his knee, has gone for 39 & 9 in Game 1 and now 40 & 13 in Game 2 against Atlanta.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 9, 2021
On Tuesday, the Hawks confirmed that one of their key players will miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus of his own. De’Andre Hunter had already missed the majority of the season after needing surgery to repair “articular wear-and-tear” in his right knee. He logged decent minutes in the first round against New York, but that’s where things ended after pain and swelling indicated there was a bigger issue to address.
Embiid scored 39 and 40 points respectively in the first two games of the series. Meanwhile, Atlanta head coach Nate McMillan will need to find stability at the three position without Hunter.
Hawks vs 76ers Projected Starting Lineups
|Ben Simmons||PG||Trae Young|
|Seth Curry||SG||Bogdan Bogdanovic|
|Danny Green||SF||Solomon Hill|
|Tobias Harris||PF||John Collins|
|Joel Embiid||C||Clint Capela|
Does Change in Venue Change Fortunes?
Practically speaking, being tied after two road games against the top seed in the conference is an acceptable outcome for the Hawks. The crazy thing about the story of these two teams in relation to each other this season is that the last four of five total games played have all been in Philadelphia.
— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) June 2, 2021
Atlanta increased the amount of fans allowed in State Farm Arena beginning with its series against the Knicks, and a raucous atmosphere should be expected on Friday night. This season, Atlanta has scored the sixth-most second half points as a home team. The Hawks desperately need that sort of home cooking on Friday, because over their last three games, they’ve averaged just 50.7 second half points, which among all teams, would be the eighth-worst in the league.
Philadelphia has averaged 65 second half points over its last three, but for the season, has been the seventh-worst second half road team in terms of average points scored. This year, Atlanta has allowed the seventh-fewest second half points at home, while Philly has allowed the third-fewest second half points on the road.
Trends, Trends, Trends…
Statistics aren’t always needed to confirm what the eye can see for itself.
In the first two games of this series, Atlanta’s three-point shooting completely dried up in the second half. The 76ers have some scoring potential from distance with the likes of Seth Curry and Tobias Harris, but the majority of their points come from within the arc.
Three of the five games that these two teams have played have finished under the projected point total — including Tuesday’s meeting. Even after some minor movement after the opening lines were released, Game 3’s total points projection is still listed at 223.5 and three of their five games this season have finished under that mark.
In the roles that both teams are playing as home and road sides, most signs points to a lower collective offensive output. Philly will want to slow the pace on the road as its done all season, while Atlanta needs to tighten things up with its possessions — particularly in the second half. The Hawks will have a renewed level of comfort at home, but if the 76ers get in front of things, they are going to want to limit Atlanta’s possessions as much as possible.
- The Pick: Under 223.5 (-118)
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