Philadelphia 76ers vs Atlanta Hawks

Round 2 Preview

For some reason, I’ve always had a soft spot for the 76ers. My neighbour is a Sixers fan too, so I guess I’m cheering for them this series. With that being said, I love Atlanta as well. I really loved Trae Young embracing the role of a villain against NY. I wish he’d stop getting to the free throw line on those cheap foul calls though. It reminds me of James Harden. Bleh!

What’s up with Joel Embiid?

I’m not a doctor (if I was, I’d be rich and wouldn’t spend hours of my time crunching numbers just for fun!) but I’m pretty sure a meniscal tear is (temporarily) game over. I’m a Bulls fan. I know the heartbreak and pain that comes with a meniscus injury. So why is Embiid listed as day-to-day? How can he be expected to play on a bum knee?

I understand that it seems to be a more minor meniscal injury, but it is still a serious injury. We saw Davis attempt to play through an injury yesterday and look how that went. Or KD a couple years back for the Warriors. He tried to play injured and ended up making it way worse. He missed the entire next season!

Why risk if you are Philly and why risk it if you are Embiid? This isn’t their last chance to win. And Embiid missing team doesn’t guarantee a loss anyway.

I don’t know what’s happening here. Either this injury isn’t as bad as it is being made out and Philly are attempting to play mind games with the Hawks, or they have lost their minds are are risking the health and safety of Joel Embiid.

Ben Simmons vs Trae Young

Oh baby, what a dream match up. Simmons has said time and time again that he thinks he should be the Defensive Player of the Year. This is his time to prove it. Young isn’t the only weapon the Hawks have, but he is certainly the best. At least the most ball dominant. If Simmons can take Young out of this game and try and make other guys beat them, Philly have an excellent advantage.

On the other hand, I’ve heard talks that Philly will play Simmons at the centre. That’s madness to me. Put Simmons on Young on both ends. Make Young work so hard to try and get buckets and to try and stop Simmons. I think Simmons could blow past Young all day on offense. He will have a hard time scoring on Clint Capela, but if he can get inside with a trailing Trae Young, he can hopefully get some clean passes in to an outside shooter. I think we will see some Ben Simmons Triple Doubles.

The Crowd

This is just for a bit of fun, but I am curious to see what pans out here. The Philadelphia faithful have never missed an opportunity to boo their own team. In the past, we have seen this motivate the 6ers. We’ve also seen it have the opposite effect.

What interests me, is Trae Young. He clearly thrived off of the boos and jeers from the NY fans. He was often seen smirking at their chants and did not shy away from engaging them. The infamous “shhh” in Game 1 and the “show’s over” bow in Game 5. Trae did not make friends and he seemed to really enjoy it.

So what do the Philly fans do? Do they try and throw him off with more creative and offensive taunts? Do they ignore him? Or do they go next level and boo their own team and actually cheer for Trae Young? Could that throw him off his game? That would be hysterical.

And what about the Hawks fans? Will they start to boo Trae Young in order to motivate him? Will they cheer for Philly in an attempt to throw them off? So many potential mind games.

The Prediction

I wouldn’t say I wrote the Hawks off at the beginning of Round 1, but I was definitely backing the Knicks. And I did so time and time again in each of the games they played against NY. I always respected them, but they really opened my eyes with the dominant series win.

As for Philly, I probably overvalued Washington and didn’t give the Sixers the respect that they had earned.

Both teams won their first round series a lot easier than I thought they would. I’m really at a loss on who to pick in this series. I’m going to take Philly, because I really value what Simmons can do for a team. I think this is going to be a battle and it might just go the distance! Philly in 7.

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