With their backs pressed firmly against the wall and facing elimination in Game 6 on Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers responded in a major way. It wasn't easy, but the Sixers overcame an early double-digit deficit to pull out a 104-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks to force a decisive Game 7 on Sunday night in Philadelphia. The win was an impressive one for the Sixers, especially after they blew large leads in each of the previous two contests. The fact that they were able to bounce back shows some impressive resilience on their part.
Tobias Harris and Seth Curry led the way for Philly, as they both scored 24 points, while Joel Embiid added 22 points and 13 rebounds. The Sixers also got a huge boost off of the bench from Tyrese Maxey, who played 29 minutes and tallied 16 points and seven rebounds. On the other side of the floor, Trae Young was excellent for Atlanta, as he has been all series. He finished the game with 34 points and 12 assists, but ultimately his production wasn't enough to propel the Hawks to victory. Kevin Huerter also added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta.
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The loss was a tough one for the Hawks, who had an opportunity to close out the series in front of their home crowd. Heading into the game, they had all the momentum in the series after pulling out two straight comeback wins. Now, that momentum has shifted back to the Sixers. Neither team can afford to dwell on this one for too long, though, as Game 7 tips off in less than 48 hours on Sunday night. Before moving on to that game though, here's a look at three main takeaways from Philadelphia's Game 6 win.
1. Major minutes from Maxey
Heading into Game 6, Sixers rookie guard Tyrese Maxey had played 33 total minutes in the series against the Hawks. But, when the Sixers needed a spark after falling behind in the game early on, Maxey was ready to deliver. Maxey entered the game a little less than midway through the opening period and he immediately provided a big boost for Philly. He went 3-for-3 from the floor and scored six points in that first quarter to keep the Sixers in the game while other key contributors were struggling to produce points. He was also big for Philadelphia in the fourth quarter. In that final period, he played over 10 minutes and scored seven points, including four clutch game-sealing free throws down the stretch. In all, Maxey played 29 minutes and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. He was also a game-high +12 during his time on the floor.
After the game, Tobias Harris said that Maxey was the "spark of the game for the Sixers," and he was right. Not only did Maxey give the Sixers a big boost offensively, he also did a solid job of defending Trae Young on the other end. Maxey spent a lot of time on Young down the stretch, and Young shot just 2 of 9 in the final quarter.
Given how well he played in Game 6, Maxey will likely be in line for major minutes again in Game 7.
2. Trae Young continues to make history this postseason
It seems like Trae Young has set some kind of NBA playoff record virtually every game this postseason, and Game 6 was no exception. Heading into the game, Young had scored or assisted on 536 points for the Hawks over their first 10 games, which was the most ever by a player through his first 10 career playoff games.
In Game 6, Young tallied 20-plus points and 7-plus assists for the 11th straight game, which tied the record for the longest such streak in NBA postseason history. John Wall also did it from 2015 to 2017, but Young's streak is more impressive given the fact that it has occurred during the same playoff run, and that it occurred over the first 11 playoff games of Young's career.
Young's production wasn't enough in Game 6, but the fact that he's playing so well in his first taste of postseason play is impressive nonetheless.
3. Seth Curry continues his hot shooting for Philadelphia
We're accustomed to seeing a Curry cook on the court during the month of June. However, in the past, it was Stephen Curry that was doing the cooking. This time around it was Seth. Seth has been on fire all series against Atlanta, and Game 6 was no different. After dropping a playoff career-high 36 points (on 13-of-19 shooting) in Game 5, Curry followed that up by dropping 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting in Game 6. Curry's numbers for the series are eye-popping:
During the first few minutes of the third quarter, Curry hit three straight 3-pointers to lift the Sixers into the lead -- a lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Seth was shooting so well that even his brother couldn't help but be impressed.
When you have the guy that's pretty much universally accepted as the best shooter ever tweeting about your shooting, you know you're doing something right. Now, the Sixers just have to hope that Curry can continue to stay hot in Game 7, and potentially beyond.