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Hawks stun 76ers with 26-point comeback in Game 5

Trae Young and Joel Embiid in Hawks-76ers Game 5

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers talk during Round 2, Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs on June 16, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Clint Capela explained how the Hawks slowed 76ers star Joel Embiid in Game 4: “Whenever you wear him out, everything becomes tougher for him. … When the fatigue comes in, it’s a different ballgame.”

Capela had to suffer through Embiid making his first eight shots in Game 5. Capela had to hear Embiid chirping in his ear, drawing a technical foul, after Ben Simmons dunked on the Atlanta center. Capela had to watch Philadelphia build a 26-point lead that was still a 22-point advantage with 13 minutes left.

But Capela eventually got vindication for his characteristically boastful scouting report.

The Hawks made a historic comeback, besting the 76ers 109-106 in Game 5 Wednesday to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round series. Embiid, who’s battling a a knee injury, struggled late – intensifying belief Atlanta could complete the upset in Game 6 Friday at home.

Teams in the Hawks’ position – without home-court advantage in a best-of-seven series, up 3-2, hosting Game 6 – have won the series 74% of the time, 63% of the time in Game 6.

Atlanta largely made its comeback with Embiid (37 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals) on the bench tonight. Philadelphia outscored the Hawks by 11 in his 39 minutes.

But he couldn’t stop the bleeding late. In the final seven minutes, Embiid missed all four of his shots and both his free throws. His defense slipped.

That allowed Trae Young (39 points and seven assists) to finish the comeback that Lou Williams (15 points, 13 in the fourth quarter) sparked. Young has so satisfyingly asserted himself in these road games in his first postseason, though this was far his sharpest performance.

Atlanta really scrapped to the finish. This was not a pretty game.

Hawks starting wings Kevin Huerter (zero points on 0-of-7 shooting) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (six points on 3-of-9 shooting) really struggled.

Beyond Embiid and Seth Curry (36 points), other 76ers shot 27% on 2-pointers and 29% on 3-pointers. Tobias Harris (four points on 2-of-11 shooting) was particularly dreadful.

Atlanta repeatedly intentionally fouled Simmons in the second quarter. He finished 4-of-14 on free throws.