Observations From Sixers’ Game 3 Victory vs. Hawks
The Sixers took the floor in Atlanta Friday night looking to carry over the momentum from their impressive win in game two against the Hawks. Behind a collective team effort, they were able to take game three convincingly. Winning by a final of 127-111, the Sixers have taken a 2-1 series lead and regained homecourt advantage.
Here are some observations from the win.
Bounce back game from the bench
The play of the Sixers' second unit was a major talking point after their win in game two. Before some late-game heroics from Shake Milton, the bench had gone almost three quarters without scoring a point.
Game three was a night and day difference from the bench unit. Multiple players stepped up and gave good production. This bounce-back performance was crucial as someone needed to step up with Danny Green getting injured in the game's opening minutes.
Furkan Korkmaz has had his struggles recently but came alive for the Sixers early. After coming in for the injured Green, Korkmaz dropped 11 points in the first quarter alone. Shake Milton, Dwight Howard, and Matisse Thybulle all also did their part in this team win.
Having this type of production from the second unit provided a nice lift for the Sixers as they needed to take a game on the road.
Ben Simmons making necessary adjustments
Even though they won the game, many people focused on Ben Simmons' scoring numbers after game two. In the first half of game three, there were still some instances of him being too pass-friendly at times.
His mindset changed after halftime. After talking with teammates and coaches at the break, Simmons went into attack mode. Whether it was in the post or transition, he continued to make the Hawks' defense pay. 14 of Simmons' 18 points came in the second half, and he did so on 5-6 shooting.
When Simmons is getting downhill and putting pressure on the defense, the Sixers' offense becomes much harder to stop. Defenses are forced to collapse on him, which allows him to showcase his elite-level playmaking.
The upped aggressiveness from Simmons come out of halftime was a great sign. When the opportunity is there for him to attack, he needs to take advantage of it. Atalanta did whatever they could to try and slow down Joel Embiid, and Simmons took advantage of it.
Sixers' big three dominate
We already discussed above what Simmons was able to do, but this was a great game for the Sixers' entire big three. Embiid, Simmons, and Tobias Harris all had their way against the Hawks in game three.
Harris continues to erase any playoff doubts leftover from last season. The elevated play he showed in the regular season has more than carried over into the postseason. Harris ended the night with 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and shot over 60% from the floor.
The MVP runner-up continues to wreak havoc in the postseason. Embiid fell just short of a triple-double on Friday night, finishing with 27 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. He also got it done on the defensive end, getting up to erase three shot attempts.
Embiid has been a man determined in this playoff run. No person or thing is going to stop him from leading the Sixers to be the last team standing.
The Sixers' big three took a huge step forward this season. When they are all clicking like they were in game three, the Sixers are extremely tough to compete with.