ROUND 2! IT IS HERE! Finally, we’ve made it. Out west, the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks will play a game 7, with the road team boasting a 6-0 record. But here in the Northeast, the Philadelphia 76ers, whether a healthy Joel Embiid or not, are ready to host the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The battle will be fierce at mostly all positions on the floor. They match up well, and this is going to be an instant classic.
Atlanta has everybody besides Cam Reddish healthy, solid amounts of talent all over the roster. They inserted Solomon Hill ahead of Tony Snell after game two against the New York Knicks, and he played solid minutes over the final three contests of round one. Led by the fiery Trae Young, the team looks good enough to compete with the 76ers, the size of Clint Capela a huge edge.
Whether or not Embiid is healthy enough to play game 1, this will be hard for the 76ers. They have a good roster around him, but they are obviously built around their center. Most possessions go through him in the post, and when he’s not in, there is no score-first big on the roster. Dwight Howard brings great energy but plays such a different game. He also fouls an awful lot.
Let’s see how game 1 goes. This will be a blast.
The spread for Game 1 is set at PHI -2.5. The over/under is 220.5 points.
Hawks Seek 1-0 Series Lead
The last time the Hawks made the conference finals, they won 60 games in the regular season and got there without so much as a hiccup. This team is not that one, though they are well-coached and bristling with talent. They have got shooting at 4/5 spots and a center that protects the rim as well as any in the entire league.
Should Capela fall on hard times with foul trouble, Onyeka Okongwu will be ready. He played with great energy last round in limited minutes, and having a second option when facing a team like Philly is huge. They will cross their fingers that they can play Embiid-free to open things up, but even as he is injury-plagued, he’s a tough hombre.
The keys to victory lie in Trae Young’s hands. If he can score and distribute effectively, running the show, they will be 1-0. If not, then no chance.
Sixers Look for Hot Start
Winning in Philadelphia is hard if you aren’t the 76ers. That’s how they have a single-digit number of losses over the last two years combined in the building. The fact they are the #1 seed in the East is the thing giving fans hope, even with Embiid far from 100%.
A meniscus injury isn’t something to laugh about. Joel may play, but he would be far from 100%. Unless he found a secret stash of Sensu Beans, then he will not be able to contribute as he likes.
The addition of Danny Green is a big addition with a veteran presence that can shoot. He and Tobias Harris will need to come up big. And Ben Simmons has to guide the D.
Philly Hangs On for 1-0 Lead
Embiid or not, they’ll win game one. The home energy will be enough.
FREE PLAY: PHI -2.5
OVER/UNDER: UNDER 220.5
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