That was ugly
Has a top seed ever been embarrassed as thoroughly as the Sixers were on Wednesday night against the Hawks?
Philadelphia appeared to have Game 5 in the bag after it built a 26-point lead late in the first half behind the strong play of Joel Embiid and Seth Curry, but it all came crumbling down in spectacular fashion. The Sixers led by 25 late in the third quarter and then got outscored 53–23 over the final 16 minutes to lose 109–106. It was a stunning collapse, and now the Sixers will head to Atlanta on Friday facing elimination.
To say the loss was historic isn’t overselling it. Here are a few stats to illustrate that.
- 26 points is the largest blown lead in Sixers playoff history.
- The Sixers’ win probability was a staggering 99.7% late in the third quarter.
- 99.7% was the same win probability the Falcons had when they led 28–3 over the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
- Joel Embiid and Seth Curry were the only Philly players to hit a shot from the floor in the second half. It was the only time in the past 15 postseasons that two players accounted for all of their team’s field goals in a half.
- The Hawks also erased an 18-point deficit to win Game 4. In the past 25 years, Atlanta was 0–41 after falling behind by 18. It just completed 18-point comebacks in back-to-back games.
- The Sixers are the only team in the past 25 postseasons to blow 18-point leads in consecutive games.
- The Hawks’ comeback from a 22-point halftime deficit is the largest ever in a playoff game after the first round.
Ben Simmons is drawing the bulk of the criticism, and for good reason. He was terrible from the foul line (2-for-6 in the second half, 4-for-14 overall) and is shooting 32.3% on free throws this postseason. (In recorded NBA history, only Ben Wallace has had a poorer postseason from the charity stripe.) But when you only have two guys hitting shots in the second half, the problems clearly run deeper than that.
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