The Philadelphia 76ers didn't get off to an ideal start against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the second round. Despite having the crowd in their favor and being the top team in the Eastern Conference facing the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, the 76ers took a beatdown in the first half.
Trae Young and the Hawks outscored the Sixers 42-27 in the first quarter. While Atlanta's offensive production slowed down a tad in the second quarter, they managed to maintain a large lead over the Sixers as they were up 20 points heading into halftime on Sunday afternoon.
Following the game, the Sixers admitted they didn't play the way they wanted to in the first half. As a team that's typically aggressive defensively, the Sixers played more on the conservative side and allowed the Hawks to get any shot they wanted. Fortunately for the Hawks, the shots were falling.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Sixers not only shot significantly worse from beyond the arc in comparison to the Hawks, but they also struggled to take care of the ball as they turned it over 12 times through the first 24 minutes, which helped Atlanta generate 19 of their points.
The second half was a different story for the Sixers. While they didn't shoot much better offensively, they held the Hawks to just 29-percent from three. They also played much more aggressively on Hawks star Trae Young, preventing him from scoring more than 10 points after collecting 25 in the first half.
While the Sixers played a much better game in the final half, the Hawks managed to come out on top with a four-point win, which Atlanta's head coach Nate McMillan said they were fortunate to have done.
Although they looked off at the start of Sunday's game, McMillan and the Hawks aren't anticipating seeing the same Sixers to start Game 2. Instead, they expect the 76ers to pick up right where they left off on Sunday afternoon.
"The intensity that we saw in that fourth quarter is the intensity that we’re going to see tomorrow night," said Nate McMillan on Monday afternoon. "They are going to be playing much faster. They’re going to more aggressive defensively. You know they will be trapping, and I’m pretty sure we’re gonna see possibly a smaller lineup."
It might've seemed that way, but the Hawks weren't shocked to see the Sixers' second-half look that was filled with aggression and high-intensity. Going into Game 1, McMillan admitted they expected the Sixers to play that physical style of basketball. While the Sixers got away from that early on Sunday, they will surely look for a way to set that kind of tone when Game 2 tips off on Tuesday.