Just hours after prior to Game 2, Joel Embiid learned that he had not won the MVP award after his terrific season. How did he respond? Embiid dropped a playoff career-high 40 points leading the Sixers to a 118-102 win over the visiting Hawks. Embiid is the first Sixer since Allen Iverson in 2003 to have 40+ points in a playoff game.
The Sixers starting lineup has proven to be the bets in the NBA this season, and that hasn't stopped so far in the playoffs. In Game 1, the entire starting lineup finished with a positive +/- , and that continued yet again in Game 2. The bench struggled to get going for the Sixers, going scoreless through almost 3 full quarters. Shake Milton saw limited action, but he caught fire late in the 3rd quarter and into the 4th scoring 14 points in just as many minutes, including shooting 4/5 from deep. In just a small sample size, we saw a Shake Milton that we haven't seen since the first half of the season. If he can continue to gain confidence and play at this high level that he did in Game 2, it will make the second unit for the Sixers a lot better, giving them the scorer they have needed.
Seth Curry has been on fire from deep. He finished with 21 points on 5/9 from beyond the arc. This is back to back games in which Curry has made 5 three pointers. His elite shooting is what the Sixers have desperately missed in the playoffs in past years.
In Game 2, we saw the Sixers change up their defensive game plan. Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle both took on the role as the primary defenders on Hawks guard Trae Young. The Sixers elite defenders held Young to just 21 points, and he looked like he could never get going. The size difference between the Sixers defenders and the smaller Young is a matchup to keep an eye on as the series continues.
The Sixers will look to keep their momentum going as they head to Atlanta. Game 3 is set to tip-off Friday night at 7:30 pm.