The Sixers took the court Friday night in Atlanta with their backs against the wall. Late collapses in Games 4 and 5 found them on the brink of elimination in Game 6.
Keeping their season alive on the road was going to be no small task, but they were up for the challenge. Against these odds, the Sixers managed to bounce back and force a Game 7, winning by a final score of 104-99. These teams will now head back to Philadelphia for one final showdown.
Unlikely heroes have become a common theme for the Sixers in this series. First Shake Milton, then Furkan Korkmaz, and another came to life in Game 6.
In what was a nightmare start for the Sixers, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris found themselves on the bench early in foul trouble. Doc Rivers decided to call on rookie Tyrese Maxey to give the team some life on the floor. Like he has done all season, Maxey made the most of the opportunity.
If the moment was too big for him, he had a funny way of showing it. Maxey saw 30 minutes of action on Friday night and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Along with his stellar offensive play, the rookie also held his own defending Trae Young. Rivers said after the game that Maxey did the best job defending Young outside of Ben Simmons.
In a pivotal game like this, many players were called on to step up. After struggling in Game 5, Tobias Harris needed to bounce back if the Sixers were going to keep their season alive. He went on to end the night tied as the team's leading scorer with 24 points, knocking down nine of his 20 shot attempts.
Joel Embiid and Seth Curry were the standouts for the Sixers in Game 5 and played a crucial role again in Game 6. Curry finished with 24 points, including six makes from beyond the arc, while Embiid went for 22 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
The Sixers took care of step one. Now it's time to finish the job. Everything comes down to Sunday's matchup in what is sure to be an electric environment.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.