Tom Moore, Bucks County Courier Times
Published 2: 26 p.m. ET June 4, 2021
There is an mountainous unknown in the 76ers-Hawks playoff series that begins Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET) at the Wells Fargo Heart in Philadelphia.
When and the design unheard of will Sixers big name Joel Embiid be ready to play? Will he be ready to play? And, if he does, how cessation to his faded MVP finalist level will he be?
The Sixers listed Embiid as day to day Wednesday, when Doc Rivers said “I’m in a position to’t provide you with a timeline” for Embiid’s return and that he’s hopeful Embiid will be ready to play at some point during the postseason.
Embiid, who suffered a a bit torn correct meniscus from a topple in Monday’s Sport 4 loss to the Washington Wizards, gave the impact to traipse smartly during a pregame workout earlier than sitting out the clinching Sport 5 victory, but the Sixers maintain a history of taking a cautious design with Embiid’s injuries.
Some folk think Embiid won’t play in the 2nd-round series with Trae Younger and Atlanta, whereas others imagine there’s of enterprise he’s going to be in the lineup as soon as Sunday’s opener.
A wholesome Embiid adjustments the design the top-seeded Sixers play at every ends of the flooring. The fixed double-groups he faces originate open photographs for his teammates and he is on the discipline of unstoppable when he faces single coverage.
On defense, Embiid offers an interior presence and is in a position to erasing mistakes if opposing guards get into the lane, in addition to switching onto smaller avid gamers and staying in front of them with his though-provoking quickness for a 7-footer. Embiid would enable Ben Simmons, who played numerous center in the closeout win over Washington, to examine up extra with the dreadful Younger.
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No Embiid design the Sixers must rely on a extra collaborative design in every single place the flooring. It worked in the Embiid-less 129-112 victory Wednesday.
“That used to be a complete, collective, neighborhood effort,” Tobias Harris said following Sport 5. “We’ve had to play without Joel for numerous of games (21 in the ordinary season).”
It’d be interesting to inspect if the Sixers would possibly well grab four of seven from Atlanta if Embiid is unavailable, though they’d rather no longer must find out.
The groups’ offensive numbers are rather the same, though the Hawks are better at free throw shooting (.812 to .767 during the ordinary season). The Sixers maintain better defensive numbers, having allowed 3.3 fewer points per game and forced 3.3 extra turnovers
The Hawks went 27-11 after Nate McMillan changed archaic Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce as head coach on March 1 and secured the East’s fifth seed.
Younger is Atlanta’s unquestioned big name. He’s no longer frightened to shoot out to 30 toes at any time and is making better decisions with the ball, as evidenced by his assist-to-turnover ratio of two.3. Younger flourished in the Novel York, where he used to be unfazed by the Madison Sq. Backyard crowd’s taunts and having a water bottle thrown at him. He averaged 32.7 points in the three games in Manhattan to lead the Hawks to their first playoff series win in 5 years.
“I in fact feel relish I’ve worked my complete lifestyles for this 2nd – in the playoffs on the biggest stage,” Younger said. “I in fact maintain self perception in myself. I know I’m constructed for this.”
Younger has benefited from a better supporting forged this year than in 2019-20. Bogdan Bogdanovic, who signed a 4-year, $72 million free agent contract with the Hawks in November, used to be the most critical addition. Bogdanovic hit .438 of his 3-pointers in the ordinary season.
“Now we maintain a group that can surprise numerous folk, but we are in a position to’t surprise ourselves,” Younger said.
The subsequent intention for Atlanta is to surprise the Sixers with a day out to the convention finals on the line. The extra Embiid plays, assuming he’s cessation to 100%, the less seemingly it is that will occur, but there’s no design to disclose at this point.
Prediction: Sixers in 7
Tom Moore: email@example.com; @TomMoorePhilly