Hawks vs. 76ers Odds
|Moneyline||+240 / -300|
|Time||Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet|
The 76ers have the chance to bury their two collapses by making the Eastern Conference Finals. History will be on Philly’s side in this winner-take-all matchup. Per Bet Labs, teams that are at least 7.5-point favorites in Game 7 are 7-2 and an impressive 6-3 against the spread.
After Atlanta started strong in the first quarter of Game 6, Game 7 looked like it would not be needed. However, instead of owning the second half like they did in Games 4 and 5, the Hawks crumbled and were outscored 57-48 at home.
Now, Atlanta will need to pull off the road upset if it hopes to continue its season.
Let’s take a deeper dive to see who will have an edge in this sudden-death matchup.
After seeing Philadelphia collapse to end Games 4 and 5, Atlanta fans had to feel good when their team ended the first quarter of Game 6 up 29-22. A scoring blitz by the 76ers to open the third quarter proved to be too much for Atlanta, though.
In the first three minutes of the second half, Philadelphia went on an 11-0 run to build a 10-point lead. The Hawks weren’t able to climb back from such a deficit.
To turn things around in Game 7, Atlanta will need better play from John Collins. In the Hawks’ wins in this series, Collins is averaging 18 points and shooting 63.6% from 3-point range. In their losses, he averages just 12.7 points and is 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Collins still can provide value defensively and through rebounding on nights that he’s off offensively. The 76ers’ defense is elite, though, so the Hawks need him to make shots and help open up the floor.
The other offensive weapon who disappeared for Atlanta is Bogdan Bogdanovic.
In the first four games of the series, Bogdanovic averaged 19 points and shot 36.1% from behind the arc. In the past two, though, he has scored just 6.5 points per game and made one of his 10 3-point attempts.
Nate McMillan has been forced to drop Bogdanovic’s time on the court to just 25 minutes per game because of his poor play, and the Serbian left Game 6 with a knee injury. It sounds like he will be a game-time decision for Game 7.
If Bogdanovic can find his rhythm again, it would provide a huge boost for the Atlanta offense.
Following his dreadful performance in Game 2, Tobias Harris looked set for another stinker after two quick fouls forced him to the bench in the first quarter of Game 6. He quickly turned things around in the second quarter, though, by scoring 12 points to help the 76ers peck at the Hawks lead.
Harris ended the game tied for the team-high with 24 points on 45% shooting. This was not his best performance, but it did help restore faith in Philadelphia’s No. 2 offensive option heading into Game 7.
In addition to Harris’s bounce-back performance, the Sixers received a surprising contribution from Tyrese Maxey. The 2020 first-round pick brought pop and playmaking off the bench that Philadelphia had sorely been missing the past few games. Maxey only made his way onto the court because Ben Simmons got into trouble, but his 16 points may have helped him earn some more time moving forward.
Harris and Maxey delivered clutch performances that were especially necessary since Joel Embiid was off his game for the second time this series.
Embiid did score 22 points, but he only shot 37.5% from the field and committed eight turnovers. He looked unstoppable throughout the playoffs until his ugly 0-for-12 second half in Game 4. Since then, the 76ers have gone from looking like a true contender to holding on for dear life.
Whether it’s exhaustion or Embiid’s knee giving him trouble, Philadelphia needs a solution to not waste this playoff run.
Every player I mentioned as having an up-and-down series can be a Game 7 hero. The two who have been the backbone for their respective teams, though, are Trae Young and Seth Curry.
Young has done everything to guide the Hawks offensively with averages of 30.3 points and 11.0 assists in this series. The most impressive part is that he is mostly guarded by players on the All-NBA defensive team, which doesn’t seem to matter.
Atlanta’s trouble has come from finding someone else to help create. Young is the only player on the Hawks averaging more than 2.3 assists per game in this series. Lacking a diverse offensive attack is why Atlanta’s field goal percentage has been trending downward over the course of the series.
Curry has been able to produce 21.8 points per game on an extremely efficient 61.5% shooting. Curry’s brightest moment in this series was leading the Sixers Game 6 third-quarter run. He scored or assisted on all 11 of Philly’s points during its crucial run.
One reason Curry has been able to pop is that Atlanta’s focus elsewhere on defense. Between focusing on Embiid and Harris and fouling Ben Simmons, the Hawks have had bigger priorities than following Philadelphia’s lone shooter.
Philadelphia’s multiplicity on offense is why I am going to side with them in this win-or-go-home scenario. I will not be foolish enough after what we have seen in recent games to back them for the whole game, though.
I do expect the 76ers to start strong. They are at home, and an early lead would get the crowd going. Hopefully, Philadelphia attacks through a fresh Embiid, who has thrived in the first half, when he’s averaging 14.7 points on 53.4% per NBA.com. The MVP candidate should have what it takes to get his team out to an early lead and reward bettors.
I’ll back the 76ers’ first-half spread on PointsBet.
Pick: Sixers 1H -4