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NBA Playoffs Game 3 Preview: Sixers vs. Hawks

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The tension is heating up in the Eastern Conference Semifinals as the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks are tied 1-1.  A pivotal Game 3 matchup takes place tonight in Atlanta.  The Sixers are a small favorite (-1.5) at most online sportsbooks.

Who has the edge in Game 3?  Can superstar point guard Trae Young help the Hawks bounce back after an embarrassing blowout loss in Game 2?  Or will Joel Embiid continue to dominate on the block and give the Sixers their first series lead?

Game 1 Review

Atlanta played poorly on the road the entire regular season.  However, the Hawks shook out of that bad habit in Game 1 by capturing a 128-124 road victory over the Sixers.  Young led the way with 35 points to aid the Hawks in pulling off the upset.

The Hawks shot the ball exceptionally well from behind the arc by nailing 20 three-pointers in the contest.  Young got some nice support from teammates John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic who both chipped in with 21 points apiece.

Game 2 Review

Sixers center Joel Embiid played with a chip on his shoulder after finding out that he didn’t win the NBA MVP Award shortly before Game 2.  Embiid poured in 40 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Philly to a 118-102 victory to even the series.  Tobias Harris played 37 minutes and banked 22 points, while Seth Curry was lights out from three-point land and finished with 21.

Perhaps the biggest boost for Philly was Shake Milton, who came off the bench with some hot shooting en route to a 14 point performance (sportskeeda.com).  The Sixer crowd went ballistic after Milton nailed a buzzer-beater shot at the end of the third quarter that gave Philly a seven-point lead.

Game 3 Keys for Atlanta

Limit Turnovers

The Hawks have got to limit turnovers if they want to win Game 3 tonight.  Atlanta committed 17 turnovers in Game 2 which was a big reason why they were blown out by 16 points.  If the Hawks guards can take better care of the basketball, they will have an excellent chance of winning Game 3.

Better Shooting From Guards

Young and Bogdanovic just couldn’t get into a rhythm in Game 2.  The duo only made 12 out of 32 shots combined.  Though Kevin Huerter shot the ball well off the bench, the Hawks starting guards must shoot at a higher percentage in Game 3.

Game 3 Keys for Philly

Keep Feeding The Big Fella

This may seem super obvious, but the Sixers have to keep getting Embiid as many touches as possible in Game 3.  The Sixers big man has scored 79 total points through the first two games.  Even with a torn meniscus, Embiid is almost impossible to stop down low because of his size and freakish strength.

Make More Free Throws

The Sixers have struggled from the charity stripe so far in this series.  In fact, Philly has missed 19 free throws through the first two games.  This was the main reason the Sixers lost Game 1. 

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