The Sixers and the Hawks kicked off their second-round matchup Sunday afternoon. Despite being down as much as 26 at one point in the first half, the Sixers clawed back to make it a one-possession game in the final minutes.
Increased defensive intensity rattled the Hawks, allowing the Sixers to cut into the deficit. This incredible second-half effort ended up falling just short, and Atlanta walked away with a 128-124 victory.
It was uncertain if Joel Embiid will make his return on Sunday, being listed as a game-time decision. The MVP finalist not only took the floor for the Sixers but did all he could to try and pull out a win.
Embiid finished the game leading the Sixers in scoring, going for a game-high 39 points. He knocked down 12 of his 21 shot attempts and went an incredible 14-15 from the free-throw line.
If the small meniscus tear was giving him any trouble, Embiid had a great way of hiding it.
The star for Atlanta was none other than Trae Young. He continues to shine in the first postseason run of his career. From the opening tip, Young gave the Sixers' defense issues. They were able to slow him down in the second half, but the damage had already been done.
Young went on to post a team-high 35 points and dished ten assists in the game one win.
Two glaring factors stood out for the Sixers in their game one loss, turnovers and miss free throws. The Sixers coughed the ball up 19 times on Sunday, nine of them coming in the first quarter alone. Atlanta finished the game with 24 points off turnovers.
Outside of Embiid, the Sixers left far too many points at the foul line. As a team, they shot 68.7% from the charity stripe, hitting 24 of 35 attempts. As they only lost by four, those 11 points left at the free-throw line proved costly.
Ben Simmons struggled greatly from the free-throw line, accounting for seven of the team's 11 misses.
While the Sixers did drop Game 1, they should feel far from discouraged. Atlanta could not miss a shot for most of the game, and they still only managed to win by four points.
The Sixers now have a taste of this team and understand where adjustments are necessary. They will have a day to prepare as these teams square off again on Tuesday night for game two.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.