The Philadelphia 76ers' playoff run is intact for at least one more day after they beat the host Atlanta Hawks 104-99 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference second-round playoff series on Friday at State Farm Arena.
Seth Curry's 24 points co-led the 76ers, who overcame a 12-point first-quarter deficit. The shooting guard nailed six three-pointers to help Philadelphia tie Atlanta at three games apiece in the best-of-seven matchup. Tobias Harris also dropped 24 points.
Joel Embiid posted 22 points on 9-of-24 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds but committed eight turnovers.
Tyrese Maxey came off the bench and scored 16 points for the 76ers. The rookie played down the stretch in place of Ben Simmons, who struggled with just six points on 2-of-6 shooting and five fouls.
Trae Young's masterful postseason continued, as he dropped 34 points and 12 assists.
Atlanta's free-throw struggles ultimately hindered the Hawks, however, as they made just 13-of-24 from the charity stripe.
The Hawks also missed Bogdan Bogdanovic after the swingman was limited to 29 minutes and left early after suffering right knee soreness.
The 76ers led for much of the second half but had to hold on down the stretch.
A Young three-pointer with Maxey in his face cut the 76ers' lead to 94-93 with 1:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.
In response, Embiid rebounded his own miss for a putback and the three-point edge.
Maxey then earned a clutch defensive rebound off a Young miss, and the 76ers eventually closed the Hawks out with free throws.
Hawks PG Trae Young: 34 points, 12 assists, 3 steals
Hawks SG Kevin Huerter: 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
Hawks C Clint Capela: 14 points, 11 rebounds
76ers C Joel Embiid: 22 points, 13 rebounds
76ers SG Seth Curry: 24 points
76ers PG Tyrese Maxey: 16 points, 7 rebounds
Curry, Maxey Guide 76ers To Win
The 76ers' season was on life support in the first quarter, when the Hawks took a 20-8 lead just 5:19 into the game. Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons were on the bench after they each picked up two fouls, and Young had as many points as the entire 76ers team.
That's when two 76er heroes emerged to save the team's playoff run.
Curry and Maxey combined to score the 76ers' final 14 first-quarter points to stop the bleeding and cut the Atlanta lead to 27-22 after 12 minutes.
Maxey scored six points in the frame, including this twisting layup:
The rookie's play prompted Rob Perez of FanDuel to ask this question on Twitter:
Maxey ended up with nine first-half points, good enough to pull the 76ers into a 29-all tie in the second quarter. Rich Hofmann of The Athletic noted how unfazed Maxey appeared in the do-or-die situation.
Undeterred, Atlanta responded with a 10-0 run, but the 76ers clawed back and trailed 51-47 at half.
The third quarter was all Curry.
The shooting guard scored 11 points in 3:07 to start the third off a trio of three-pointers and a 21-foot jumper. He also assisted on a Joel Embiid three-pointer, so Curry accounted for all the points in a 14-0 run that gave Philadelphia a 61-51 edge.
Curry has simply been on fire during the playoffs, hitting 38-of-76 three-pointers (28-of-45 vs. Atlanta). He was also coming off a 36-point effort in Game 5. Sixers Stats provided some figures showcasing his greatness:
Sixers Stats @SixersStats
This is @sdotcurry's 4th game this postseason w/ at least 5 3s. No other @sixers player has ever had more than 2 such games in a playoff run (@alleniverson 1; @jj_redick 2).<br><br>Curry's 4 such games are tied w/ @Dame_Lillard for the 3rd-most in @NBA this postseason.<br><br>h/t @Stathead
In the fourth quarter, Maxey helped carry the torch for the 76ers, hitting a free throw, registering a steal and nailing another shot from beyond the arc within 23 seconds to give Philadelphia a 84-78 edge.
Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News praised Maxey's performance, which included seven fourth-quarter points to seal the win:
The 76ers needed help on a night when Simmons struggled offensively and the team finished minus-seven with him on the court. They got that assistance courtesy of Curry and Maxey, who guided the 76ers back home to Philadelphia.
Another Masterpiece for Trae Young
It's been the case for the entire playoffs, but Trae Young was nothing short of exceptional once again.
He led all players in points, assists and steals and is now averaging 29.8 points and 10.4 dimes for the playoffs.
On a night where the Hawks largely struggled shooting (41.3 percent from the field, 54.2 percent from the free-throw line), Young kept Atlanta alive despite the offensive onslaught from Curry and Maxey. His efforts to get the Hawks off to a great start helped keep this game competitive for four quarters too.
Young, who finished second in the NBA in assists per game, found Clint Capela early for an easy two:
Young also caught fire early, scoring 11 points in the first eight minutes. He capped that run with a step-back three-pointer:
The third-year veteran did damage everywhere on the court, whether it was in the key or the Hawks midcourt logo:
Young kept his teammates involved, though, finding Collins for this poster dunk over Embiid that got the State Farm Arena crowd rocking:
The point guard was at his finest with his team down 94-90, however.
With the shot clock winding down and Maxey playing impeccable defense, Young somehow found space and hit a clutch three-pointer to cut the 76er edge to one:
The result didn't go the way of Young and the Hawks, but Atlanta will always appear to have a chance as long as he is on the court. He's on an epic run right now, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:
We'll soon find out how this Young postseason story ends, but the 22-year-old is rewriting NBA history books and has Atlanta in position to potentially pull off an epic playoff run. The Hawks will look to write a positive conclusion to that chapter against the 76ers shortly.
Philadelphia will host Atlanta for a series-deciding Game 7 on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center.