After being down as much as 26 points, the Atlanta Hawks were able to fight back against the Philadelphia 76ers, ultimately winning 109 - 106 – a comeback for the ages.
Heading into the NBA Playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks were the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks had already beaten the favored, and higher-ranked New York Knicks 4 - 1 in a best of 7 series. Led by Trae Young, and anticipating a series against the Number 1 seed, Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks were thought to be demolished very quickly. Despite the numerous doubts, Atlanta managed to squirm out of their first game against Philadelphia with a 128 - 124 victory.
After a rowdy back and forth, the Hawks and the 76ers were tied 2 to 2 heading into a pivotal Game 5. At home, the 76ers dominated for 3 quarters, while the lackadaisical Hawks trailed for almost the entire time – oftentimes being down by over 20 points.
However, heading into the 2nd half, the 76ers began to falter. Joel Embiid, starting the game with 8 for 8 shooting, went ice cold, scoring only 3 of his 9 shots in the 3rd and 4th quarter combined. Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris, 2 other starters, did not help in any way either, going 0-4 and 0-1 from the field, respectively.
In the 2nd half, Lou Williams stepped up substantially, seeming more like his old self. Coming off the bench for the Hawks, and once crowned as the 6th man of the year, Lou was only scoring a mere 7 points in 12 minutes of game time – Game 5 was a different story. Entering the fourth quarter, down by 18, the Atlanta Hawks needed a run, exactly what Williams sparked. The guard scored 13 points in just 4 minutes; likewise, Trae Young was fired up and matched Lou's 13 points with 13 of his own, also dishing out 2 assists, finishing the game with a playoff career-high of 39 points.
So now, entering Game 6, will the Hawks win? My answer is yes, in 7 games. But, even if they lose this series, the Hawks should be proud of themselves. Their future is bright, and the rest of the teams in the Eastern Conference should be prepared next season. Trae will only continue to get better, whether that is his ability at drawing fouls, scoring, or finding the open man. Bogdanovic and Gallinari will also become better shooters to accompany Young, spacing beyond the 3 point line and knocking shots down the stretch. Lastly, and hopefully, Lou Willaims will feel like his old self, helping the Hawks in every manner he possibly can.