Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Atlanta Hawks win Game 7 thriller to advance to Eastern Conference Finals

The Atlanta Hawks are into the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2015!

In a nail-biting 103-96 Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks recorded their fifth road win in the playoffs in a game that featured 16 ties and 18 lead changes.

Kevin Huerter led five players in double figures with a playoff career-high 27 points, stepping up as Trae Young struggled, while John Collins finished with a 14-point, 16-rebound double-double.

Let's jump into the key takeaways from Game 7.

Kevin Huerter lives for the moment

With Trae Young struggling to get his shot going, Kevin Huerter picked up the slack, providing an offensive spark to keep the Hawks in the contest.

He led the way with 27 points and seven rebounds on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from the 3-point line.

Between their injuries and Young's cold shooting night, Huerter kept the offence ticking through the first three quarters, before Young found it late.

With the game and series on the line in the final minute and the Hawks in front by one point (93-92), Huerter made a crucial 3-point play after he was fouled by Matisse Thybulle on a 3-point attempt, knocking down all three free throws to make it 96-92 with 54 seconds to go.

Young held quiet, delivers late

The defensive tandem of Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle smothered Young all night as the Hawks star struggled to find his rhythm in Game 7.

He managed 21 points on just 5-of-23 shooting from the field and 2-of-11 from the 3-point line. His frustrations were visible in the first half as he was awarded a technical after arguing with the officials.

Despite the heavy defensive attention, he delivered when it mattered most, scoring 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, including this clutch triple from way back to make it 93-87 with 2:30 remaining.

After taking a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Hawks' offence came out stagnant in the final period, registering their first field goal with 7:01 remaining in the game, before Young and Huerter combined late to ice the win.

On a night where his shot wasn't falling, Young was still able to impact the game with his passing and playmaking, dishing out 10 assists.

Turnovers prove costly for Philly

The 76ers were their own worst enemy in Game 7, turning the ball over 17 times, which the Hawks converted into 15 points.

Joel Embiid accounted for eight of the team's turnovers, including a crucial possession in the final minute, with an opportunity to cut the deficit to two points. Danilo Gallinari poked the ball away isolated with the 76ers big man and turned it into a dunk at the other end, shutting the door on Game 7.

Embiid led the 76ers with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Tobias Harris added 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Simmons' fourth-quarter struggles continue

For the fourth-straight game, Ben Simmons didn't record a made field goal in the fourth quarter.

Settling for passes, he finished with 13 dimes on the night, but his lack of aggression on the offensive end, when the 76ers needed buckets down the stretch proved costly.

He recorded just five points on 2-of-4 shooting, adding eight rebounds on the night.

What's next?

The Hawks will take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, scheduled for Wednesday, June 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET

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