Seth Curry, ‘other’ Sixers send East semifinals to Game 7

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 18:  Seth Curry #31 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives against Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at State Farm Arena on June 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris saved the Philadelphia 76ers’ season.

Curry scored 12 points on Philadelphia’s 14-0 run to start the third quarter, delivering the Sixers their first lead of Friday’s Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks. They did not relinquish that edge, as Curry finished with 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting in a 104-99 victory that tied their Eastern Conference semifinals series.

Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.

The Hawks led by as many as 12 points in a 29-point first quarter, and one-time All-Star point guard Trae Young collected 20 of his 34 points and seven of his 12 assists by halftime of their close-out opportunity.

Curry, Maxey and Harris kept the Sixers afloat. They combined for 29 points on 12-for-23 shooting in the first half, while their Philadelphia teammates — including All-NBA talents Joel Emiid and Ben Simmons — totaled 18 points on 8-for-28 shooting at the break. The Sixers managed to stay within 51-47 after two quarters, despite shooting 41% from the field, 31% from 3-point range and 1 for 3 at the free-throw line.

Simmons found himself in foul trouble throughout the game. He was -15 in 8:43 of action in the first half.

Then came the onslaught. The Sixers converted seven of their 11 3-point attempts in the third, four from Curry’s flame-throwing fingertips, and took their own own double-digit lead three minutes after halftime.

Embiid, playing on a partially torn right lateral meniscus, finished with 22 points on 9-for-24 shooting and TK rebounds. Simmons, presumably healthy, scored six points (2-6 FG, 0-0 3P, 2-4 FT) in a must-win game. Atlanta’s Hack-a-Ben strategy turned Simmons into a defensive sub once the game tightened in the fourth.

The Hawks lost Bogdan Bogdanovic to knee soreness early in the final quarter, but Young’s shot clock-beating off-balance 3-pointer with 1:58 remaining cut their deficit to 94-93. The lights in State Farm Arena actually went dark for several minutes after Young’s triple breathed light back into the Atlanta crowd.

When the lights came back on, Embiid scored the game’s next three points to push Philadelphia’s lead back to two possessions inside the two-minute mark, and the game became a free-throw contest. Maxey and Harris made seven of their eight attempts from the line to seal the win in the final 27.2 seconds.

Harris matched Curry’s 24 points, and the rookie Maxey scored a playoff career-high 16 points off the bench after averaging fewer than five minutes over Philadelphia’s previous four games against Atlanta.

“He’s ready,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers told reporters following the victory. “Tyrese is ready.”

The Hawks got double-digit scoring from Kevin Huerter (17 points, 11 rebounds), Danilo Gallinari (16 points off the bench) and Clint Capela (14 points, 11 rebounds). Bogdanovic and John Collins combined for 14 points on 5-for-19 shooting. Atlanta shot 41% from the field, 32% from 3 and 54% from the line in defeat.

Afterwards, Hawks coach Nate McMillan did not provide an update on Bogdanovic’s status for Game 7.

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