Kevin Huerter exploded for 27 points as the Atlanta Hawks shocked the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 103-96 to advance to the Eastern conference finals. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 31 points and 11 rebounds while Tobias Harris added 24 points and 14 boards himself. Seth Curry contributed 16 points.
Trae Young struggled for much of the game, going 5-23 from the field en route to 20 points. He was ultimately more valuable distributing the ball with 10 assists, but did have some late clutch shots to assist Huerter’s steady presence.
The Hawks covered the spread at +6.5. The under hit at 216.5.
Both teams were unable to break away from each other, with neither holding a big lead at any point in the contest. Young hit a floater at near the end of the third quarter to put the Hawks up 76-69 to eventually lead by five at the end of the period. Embiid responded with seven points to open the final frame to give the 76ers a 78-77 lead.
Huerter continued to keep the Hawks alive offensively, either making midrange shots or finding open players on the perimeter for assists. Young hit a late triple to give the Hawks a 93-87 advantage, but Harris made two late shots himself to close the game to 93-92.
Matisse Thybulle fouled Huerter on a three-point attempt late and the guard hit all his free throws, essentially putting the 76ers on ice. The Hawks continued to hit free throws to seal the win.
There will be questions about Philadelphia’s roster and coaching staff after losing three of the four home games in the series, including the decider. The spotlight will largely be on Ben Simmons, who scored five points on four shots in the final game. Simmons failed to hit double-digit points in any of the final three games.
The Hawks will now meet the Milwaukee Bucks in the last round of the East playoffs. Both teams are coming off massive road Game 7 wins and will face off for a chance to reach the NBA Finals.
Game 1 of the Eastern conference finals is Wednesday in Milwaukee at 8:30 p.m. ET.