On June 20, the Philadelphia 76ers face off against the Atlanta Hawks to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. Led by star big man Joel Embiid, the Sixers hope to capitalize on momentum after winning Game 6 to extend the series.
Now back on home soil, Sixers coach Doc Rivers is confident that the team’s fans will create a “phenomenal” environment in Game 7. In a recent interview, he compared the upcoming game to “war.”
Our environment has been phenomenal. Our fans are amazing. They will be ready for war, or whatever you want to use now that�s politically correct. They’ll be ready for it.Doc Rivers
Given Trae Young’s newfound “villain” persona, fans could be at their rowdiest in Philly. In the first round, Young and fans clashed as the Hawks beat the Knicks in 5 games. His stellar play combined with his confident arrogance made for an almost hostile crowd in New York throughout the series.
With Rivers’ statement taken into mind, Young may be subject to yet another hostile environment.
If the Sixers want to back up the fans filling the Wells Fargo Center and win the series, Embiid must step up. After a poor Game 6 where he shot under 40% from the field, he promised fans a better game next time out. In addition, he also had 8 turnovers, but Seth Curry and Tobias Harris managed to offset his rare bad game.
Ben Simmons also must step up if the Sixers want to advance. After a regular season where he averaged a career-low 14 points per game, his slump continued into the postseason. This already low average in Simmons’ standards dropped even more to a measly 12.5 points in the playoffs. Simmons’ extremely low free throw percentage is arguably the negative highlight of his postseason.
At just 33% from the line this postseason, Simmons is in the worst form of his life from the line. Even notoriously poor free-throw shooter Shaquille O’Neil had a message for Simmons and his recent play.
Despite recent struggles from Simmons and Embiid, the Sixers still have a chance at beating the Hawks. Either way, the stadium will be electric. After all, fans last saw the Sixers make a Conference Finals 20 years ago in the era of Allen Iverson.