The Philadelphia 76ers still can’t find a way to complete “The Process.” Despite making significant front office and coaching changes in the offseason, the 76ers were once again handed an unexpected early playoff exit.
This time, the Sixers were eliminated in the conference semifinals after suffering a shocking 103-96 to young and playoff inexperienced Atlanta Hawks team on Sunday night in a home Game 7.
Despite playing inconsistently during the series and blowing significant leads, Philly entered the pivotal game as an overwhelming favorite. And they played the part early on, entering the second quarter with a 28-25 advantage, before going through another meltdown.
Like so many times in the series, the Hawks crawled their way back and found a way to get the better out of their opponent. After erasing Philadelphia’s advantage early in the second period, Atlanta took control of the game and never relinquished it. The 76ers made few runs to get back in the driving seat, but their offensive inefficiency did not allow them to come close enough.
The Hawks were led by Kevin Huerter, who had a career-high with 27 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Philly managed to keep Atlanta’s star guard Trae Young in check, limiting him to 5-23 shooting, but he still managed to score 21 points to go with his 10 assists.
Joel Embiid had a monster outing for the 76ers, managing 31 points and 11 boards despite playing on a meniscus tear. But that wasn’t enough as Philadelphia’s All-Star guard Ben Simmons had another disappointing night offensively. Simmons only had five points, making it the fourth game in the series that he wasn’t in double digits scoring.
The Atlanta Hawks are now headed to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will face the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s an amazing feat for a Hawks team that opened the season with a 14-20 record and hasn’t been in the playoffs for the past three years.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, will have to make some tough decisions in the offseason if they don’t want to continue finishing their season early.