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Joel Embiid And The Sixers Evened The Series With A 16-Point Win Over The Hawks In Game 2

The Philadelphia 76ers entered Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks with a sense of urgency after a home loss in Game 1. While it wasn’t smooth sailing for all 48 minutes, the Sixers recovered nicely, dominating on the offensive end behind Joel Embiid and riding an unexpected wave from Shake Milton to a 118-102 victory to even the series.

The opening moments belonged entirely to the Sixers to the tune of a 23-6 run. Philadelphia generated an easy bucket just seconds after the tip-off and, with the Hawks shooting just 3-for-14, the home crowd was rocking.

Tobias Harris was enormous in the early going for the Sixers, scoring 12 points in the first five minutes of action.

Harris scored 16 points in the first quarter and Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points before settling in with a 13-point lead after 12 minutes. It wasn’t just the offense either, as the Sixers did a much better job against Trae Young.

Atlanta didn’t fade, though, as they started the second quarter with a 13-2 run. That slashed the deficit to two and, once again, Philadelphia’s bench leaked oil.

There were plenty of fireworks in the second quarter, first with Embiid and Clint Capela exchanging dunks.

Then, Embiid got caught up with Danilo Gallinari, with both picking up technical fouls in the final minute of the half.

With Embiid heading to the bench until the break, the Hawks put together a late flourish, with Kevin Huerter and Gallinari both converting triples to trim the halftime margin down to two.

Atlanta’s bench was dominant in the first two quarters, keeping them engaged. Huerter and Gallinari combined for 30 points and, whenever Embiid left the floor, the Hawks charged to stay in touch.

Coming out of halftime, the Sixers seemingly threatened to pull away. Philadelphia put together a 14-4 run midway through the third quarter, taking a 73-63 and flashing their upside.

The Hawks weren’t ready to fade, though, and they produced their best single run of the evening. Bogdan Bogdanovic converted back-to-back three-pointers to key a 12-2 run and, when it was over, Atlanta took its first lead of the night at 80-79 with 2:41 remaining in the third.

Atlanta’s lead didn’t last long, though, and Philadelphia extended their advantage to seven points at the end of the third quarter. It looked as if the Sixers would lead by only four, but Milton knocked down a deep buzzer-beater to give the home team a boost.

Milton wasn’t done, as he became the cult hero of the night for Philadelphia. He scored 14 points in his first 11 minutes of action, rewarding Doc Rivers for his faith and keying what became a 14-0 overall run for the Sixers to effectively put the game away.

The Hawks never made a run from there and, while Philadelphia’s ability to slow Trae Young was significant, it was the offense that carried the Sixers. Embiid was dominant, finishing with 40 points and 13 rebounds, and Philadelphia took care of the ball at an elite level (nine turnovers, including only two in the second half) while producing tremendous shooting efficiency (53 percent from the floor, 46 percent from three). Atlanta’s offense was reasonably effective for the most part, especially through the prism of Huerter and Gallinari off the bench, but the Hawks couldn’t get enough stops to weather the storm.

Ultimately, Atlanta secured the split that any road team is seeking in the first two games of a playoff series. Embiid’s health and performance are seemingly trending in the right direction, however, and the Hawks will need to recapture their Game 1 magic as they host Game 3 on Friday at State Farm Arena.

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