Hawks Stun 76ers, ECF Next Against the Bucks
Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins was in a good mood on Sunday night, and with good reason. After watching his Hawks defeat the host Philadelphia 76ers 103-96, Collins was all smiles. Maybe it was because he'd been through three losing seasons in Atlanta. Maybe it was because he was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of his dunk on Sixers center Joel Embiid from Game 6.
Either way, the longest-tenured Hawk on the roster at four seasons was a happy man. "Everybody is fired up," Collins said. "We've worked all year to be in moments like this. Game 7, I feel like we all had each other's back. We couldn't have wanted anything else more than we did tonight. We pulled through for a victory."
The Hawks are just the third team under the current playoff format (since 1984) to make the conference finals despite having a losing record at the All-Star break, when Atlanta was 16-20. The other two teams to do so -- the 2012 Celtics (15-17) and the 1984 Suns (19-24) -- did not make the NBA Finals.
The Hawks came away with three wins on the road this series in order to advance and did so despite a poor shooting night from star guard Trae Young. The third-year point guard, who had been so steady so far in the playoffs, shot 5-of-23 from the field and 2-of-11 from the 3-point line.
Game-1 of the Eastern Conference finals is Wednesday.