mcloudy.png
Friday June 18th, 2021 3:08PM

Hawks, Nuggets hope home court provides edge in semifinals

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATLANTA (AP) — John Collins already has seen what playoff success has done to raise the hometown excitement for the Atlanta Hawks.

Collins is eager for the opportunity to build more enthusiasm now that the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers has shifted to Atlanta.

With the series tied 1-1, Game 3 will be played on Friday.

There is less heading into Friday's Game 3 matchup between Phoenix and Denver. The Suns hold a 2-0 lead over the Nuggets in their Western Conference semifinal in a series that Phoenix seems to be in total control.

In Atlanta, the Hawks announced a sellout on Thursday for Game 3 and said only a few seats remain for Monday's Game 4.

The Hawks have won 13 consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the NBA. The streak includes two home wins as Atlanta beat the New York Knicks in five games in the first round.

Collins said he found evidence of Atlanta's playoff fever at his neighborhood gas station.

“I go into the same gas station I would go into every single time and the dude working the desk wouldn’t know me until we beat New York and now I come in there and his face is lit up, you know what I mean?” Collins said Thursday.

“To me it was a small example of how deep we’re touching the city. ... I’d like to see more of that.”

Collins, the power forward in his fourth season, and third-year point guard Trae Young are in the playoffs for the first time.

“I can’t speak for Trae but just watching him I can tell he just loves being in these type of moments," Collins said. "He loves the big stage and thrives in it.”

Young has averaged 28.9 points in seven playoff games.

76ERS AT HAWKS

Game 3, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

— NEED TO KNOW: Young had 35 points with 10 assists in Atlanta’s Game 1 win but made only one of seven 3-pointers while scoring 21 points in the 76ers’ 118-102 Game 2 win on Tuesday. The 76ers used 6-foot-11 Ben Simmons as the lead defender against Young. Simmons blocked one of Young's shots and likely will be part of the Game 3 defensive plan. Meanwhile, the Hawks will continue to seek ways to provide help for overmatched center Clint Capela against Embiid.

— KEEP AN EYE ON: Philadelphia center Joel Embiid has a combined 79 points in the first two games against Atlanta. He has answered questions that a cartilage tear in his right knee would limit his production.

76ers coach Doc Rivers said Embiid is Philadelphia’s “trump card” and “a guy you can always go to.”

“The better your other guys are playing, the easier it is for your trump card to be dominant,” Rivers said Thursday.

— INJURY WATCH: The Hawks announced Wednesday De’Andre Hunter will miss the remainder of the postseason due to right knee surgery scheduled for Tuesday. Hunter, the team’s top perimeter defender, was held out the first two games due to soreness in the knee but he was effective against the Knicks.

“It’s a big loss for us,” coach Nate McMillan said Thursday. “He’s a big part of what we’ve done.”

The 76ers are still favored by 1 1/2 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

— PRESSURE IS ON: Solomon Hill started but played only 8 minutes at Hunter's wing position in Game 2. Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points and Kevin Huerter added 20 off the bench.

Hunter could have been an important addition to Atlanta's rotation with his size when defending Tobias Harris. Though Gallinari and Huerter can play important roles, the defensive void left by Hunter's continued absence will be difficult to fill.

SUNS AT NUGGETS

Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, ESPN

— NEED TO KNOW: The Nuggets will try to recover from an embarrassing Game 2 blowout loss when the series shifts to Denver. The Suns showed impressive balance by taking a 2-0 lead with their 123-98 win on Wednesday night. After eliminating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, Phoenix is in command and has left Denver, led by newly named MVP Nikola Jokic, in a must-win position in Game 3. Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Game 2.

— KEEP AN EYE ON: At 36, Suns guard Chris Paul seems ageless. He had 17 points, 15 assists and no turnovers in Game 2 and then said “I feel really good.” That's great news for Phoenix, especially following concerns about his sore right shoulder against the Lakers.

— INJURY WATCH: Denver swing forward Will Barton scored 10 points off the bench after missing 20 games with a hamstring injury. He played 16 minutes and may have his playing time restricted in Game 3.

— PRESSURE IS ON: Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. After he hurt his back in the first half of Game 1, Porter’s shot was off in Game 2 as he made only 3 of 13 shots and scored 11 points. Porter is Denver's second shooting option after Jokic, leaving him in the spotlight to take more of the scoring burden off the MVP in Game 3.

With starting point guard Jamal Murray out for the season with a knee injury, there may be too much pressure on Porter, especially if he's less than full strength.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Back to normal? NBA plans to start '21-22 season in October
The NBA has informed teams that it intends to return to a normal schedule next season, with training camps opening in late September and the regular season set to begin on Oct. 19
5:32PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Hawks, Nuggets hope home court provides edge in semifinals
The Atlanta Hawks will attempt to extend their 13-game home winning streak when they play the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal
5:30PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Neo-Nazi group members linked to attack plot plead guilty
Two neo-Nazi group members whose talk of planning an attack at a Virginia gun rights rally was secretly recorded by the FBI have pleaded guilty to gun charges and obstruction of justice
5:24PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bednar cleared to coach Avs after virus testing irregularity
The Colorado Avalanche will have their coach behind the bench when they face elimination against the Vegas Golden Knights
5:01PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Unseeded Krejcikova, Pavlyuchenkova reach French Open final
Unseeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic has overcome a match point and an apparent blown call to reach her first Grand Slam final
4:40PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Jones says 'stay tuned' as he proves he's still fast, strong
Julio Jones turned 32 in February, missed seven games with a nagging hamstring issue in his 10th NFL season and now finds himself with a new team in the Tennessee Titans
4:39PM ( 58 minutes ago )
AP Sports
USA Basketball sets plan for Olympic camps in Las Vegas
The last stop for USA Basketball before the Tokyo Olympics will be Las Vegas
8:06AM ( 9 hours ago )
Lawyers: Avenatti shamed, merits leniency for Nike extortion
Lawyers for Michael Avenatti say he should spend no more than six months behind bars after a jury concluded he tried to extort $25 million from Nike
6:01AM ( 11 hours ago )
Chris Paul has another big night, Suns rout Nuggets 123-98
Chris Paul had 17 points and 15 assists without a turnover, Devin Booker added 18 points and 10 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns routed the Denver Nuggets 123-98 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals
2:23AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Donovan Mitchell scores 45, rallies Jazz past the Clippers
Donovan Mitchell scored 45 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 112-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series
2:17AM ( 1 day ago )
Shake Milton saves Sixers as Philly evens series with Hawks
Joel Embiid had 40 points and 13 rebounds and Shake Milton buried a 32-footer and scored 14 points in an electrifying stretch off the bench to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Atlanta Hawks 118-102
11:30PM ( 1 day ago )
Nikola Jokic becomes lowest draft pick ever to win MVP award
Nikola Jokic was revealed Tuesday as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for 2020-21, making him by far the lowest draft pick ever to win the award
7:57PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Back to normal? NBA plans to start '21-22 season in October
The NBA has informed teams that it intends to return to a normal schedule next season, with training camps opening in late September and the regular season set to begin on Oct. 19
5:32PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Neo-Nazi group members linked to attack plot plead guilty
Two neo-Nazi group members whose talk of planning an attack at a Virginia gun rights rally was secretly recorded by the FBI have pleaded guilty to gun charges and obstruction of justice
5:24PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Senators eye $579B in new infrastructure spending, $1T plan
A bipartisan group of senators is eyeing an infrastructure deal with $579 billion in new spending as part of a $1 trillion package
5:18PM ( 19 minutes ago )
The Latest: CDC looking into reports of heart inflammation
U.S. health officials are investigating what appear to be higher than expected reports of heart inflammation in male teens and young adults after they get a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
5:12PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Leak of billionaires' tax data draws GOP outcry over privacy
Republicans in Congress are alarmed by the leak of confidential IRS data to ProPublica that has enabled the investigative news organization to reveal that famous billionaires including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg paid little in U.S. income tax at times
5:08PM ( 29 minutes ago )