The Philadelphia 76ers took a 2-1 lead on the road against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night in commanding fashion with a 127-111 victory.
Just four minutes into the game, Danny Green went to the sideline with a limp and was subsequently ruled out with a calf strain. Furkan Korkmaz was the next man up off the bench to replace him, and he made the most of his chance to shine.
The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the best players in the NBA in Joel Embiid, but their depth has come up huge in the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks.
Korkmaz was particularly opportunistic in the first quarter where he went 3-of-3 from the floor and scored 11 points as the Sixers built a lead they would ultimately never relinquish. While he’s the most recent reserve to come up big for the Sixers against the Hawks, he’s definitely not the first.
In a must-win Game 2, trailing 1-0 at home, Shake Milton changed the game with a huge 14-point second half to help break open a 57-55 halftime margin. All this is in addition to Seth Curry’s consistent scoring as the fourth starter, averaging 18.0 points per game and 60.0 percent 3-point shooting in the series.
Rookie Tyrese Maxey has had a quiet series, playing just 18 total minutes against the Atlanta Hawks and not at all in Game 3, but he was productive in the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Washington Wizards. In round one he averaged 9.0 points per game and broke double digits in three of the five games.
The Sixers have one of the most dynamic Big 3s in the NBA in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. This trio is reliable and, if they can stealthy, can go toe-to-toe with any Big 3 in the NBA. Embiid may be the actual best player left standing in the NBA playoffs at this point and even though he’s playing through a torn meniscus, he’s been incredibly productive with averages of 39.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals in the two games he’s played.
Philadelphia will go just as far as Joel Embiid carries them, but the Sixers’ depth has been a surprising benefit that has helped them pull through in their two wins against the Atlanta Hawks. If Embiid is out there, you know he’ll be great. The Philadelphia 76ers need more of the same from their rotational players, and if they get it, there may be no stopping this team in the NBA playoffs.