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The Philadelphia 76ers Lose a Close Game as Atlanta Stays Alive in the Playoff Series

Tom Handy
Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ersScreenshot from Twitter

The Philadelphia 76ers collapsed in game five against the Atlanta Hawks who have a 3 to 2 lead in the playoffs.

Embiid put up 39 points and Curry had 36. The rest of the 76ers did not have a field goal in the second half.

Philadelphia lost 106 to 109 against Atlanta to came from 26 points behind to win. Atlanta did the same in the previous game and came back from 18 points to win the game.

Our backs are against the wall right now and we have to play like it,” said Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris.

Seth Curry said the 76ers are blowing big leads and can’t overcome them.

It shouldn’t,” Curry said. “We’re grown men over here. Watch the film and learn from it and bounce back.”

The pressure is getting to the 76ers as they have only made 1 of 7 shots in the final five minutes of the last two games.

Embiid was 0 for 5, Simmons didn’t try to shot, and Harris missed both of his shots.

"We'll get back up. We'll be back here for game seven. I believe that," said Rivers after the game. "We have made this hard on ourselves, and we have to own up to that, all of us."

The 76ers could have finished the series in games four and five but couldn’t get it done. The Hawks persevered to hang in there in this playoffs series that should have been over.

“I believe in my team,” said Rivers on Thursday. “You get to the next game and it’s a new game. Every game is a single game. If Tobias was saying was tired out of it, does that mean he’s gonna be out of it tomorrow? No, I trust my guys. For the most part, they’ve come through and they’ve played well. I really believe they’re going to do that. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t have said that.”

Now Philadelphia heads back to Atlanta to win in a must-win game on the road.

Hawks coach Nate McMillan expects a tough game from the 76ers.

I think you expect them to be certainly more aggressive,” McMillan said Thursday of the 76ers. “They are in a do-or-die situation. Their season ends if they don’t win the game. We definitely expect them to come out with that sense of urgency and play aggressive and just really leave everything out on the floor. I will be challenging our guys to do the same.”

Doc Rivers has been in this situation before. When Rivers coached the LA Clippers, they lost game 5 to San Antonio. He coached the team to win the next two games. So Doc Rivers has been here before. Now he needs to coach the 76ers to do the same.

One of the players asked me if I ever lost a Game 5 at home and won the series and I said Yeah, I have against the San Antonio Spurs,” Rivers recalled. “I said, but that was then, this is now. You know what I mean? We lost Game 5 in LA, went to San Antonio and won, and then won the Game 7, which might have been one of the greatest games ever as far as the way it was played. Chris Paul made an amazing shot at the end. Unfortunately, he almost tore his hamstring doing it but, he made a big shot.”

Doc Rivers is going to have to rely on those lessons once again and keep the playoffs alive for Philadelphia.

Obviously, individually, I know it’s a task that can be done,” Rivers finished. “I shared that when the guy asked that, but I don’t know what that does for everybody, but all these experiences, you put in the bank, and you try to use them to the best that you can.”

Philadelphia plays Atlanta Friday night in a crucial playoff game.

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