2021 NBA Playoff Preview
Ariel Stull/Vendetta Sports Media

2021 NBA Playoff Preview: #1 Philadelphia 76ers vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

In this 2021 NBA Playoff Preview, we have the 76ers and the Hawks in the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. First, I feel the need to apologize to Hawks fans. When Jackson Law and I made the NBA shorts on predictions for the playoffs, we both had the Hawks losing to the Knicks in 6 games. That caught some hate from Hawks fans and they said we were casuals. Maybe so, but they were right about the Hawks. However, are these Hawks fans feeling confident they can beat the 76ers?

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Why The Atlanta Hawks Will Win

Offense. Offense. Offense. While one will look at Trae Young’s stats and see he had 146 points and 49 assists in 5 games against the Knicks’ top 5 ranked defense, the rest of the team should not be slept on. Trae averaged about 30 points and 10 assists per game against this Knicks’ defense. But after him, the Hawks still had 4 players in double figures for scoring. Also, 2 players were .6 points per game away from being added to the list. Realistically, there are 6 players other than Trae Young that are about to get 10 points for the Hawks. Those are only their numbers against the Knicks’ 4th ranked defense too. The 76ers do top that with their 2nd ranked defense, but the fact of the matter is that the Hawks can score on anyone after Young.

Why The Philadelphia 76ers Will Win

Conversely to the Hawks’ reason as to why they will win, the 76ers will win with how they won all year: Defense. The difference between the Knicks and the 76ers is that the 76ers have a better defense and are better at scoring than the Knicks. That’s where it will become a problem for the Hawks. Trae Young will see a plethora of sizes and different looks from the 76ers. We might see Ben Simmons guard him or a quicker option with Matisse Thybulle on him. The 76ers’ defense is just flat out better than the Knicks’ by statistics and the eye test. The only thing that might help the Hawks is that Joel Embiid may be hampered with an injury.

Prediction: 76ers in 6

The 76ers are the #1 team in the East for a reason. Their combination of grit on defense, their ability to get to the hoop, and shooters on the outside combines for a balanced offense and defense. While the 76ers will be facing a more balanced offensive attack rather than only Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal, the 76ers’ defense is stout enough to hold the Hawks. The lack of defense from the Hawks will be exposed as the 76ers have more people that can score than the Knicks did. Their size and defense will make it tough for the Hawks to overcome it. Still, the Hawks deserve two games just because of Trae Young. After that, it’ll be hard for the Hawks to win more than 2 in my eyes.

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