Philadelphia evens playoff series with Atlanta

Philadelphia's Joel Embiid scored 40 points, and Shake Milton scored 14 as the 76ers withstood a late Atlanta challenge to win, 118-102 Tuesday. The victory evens their Eastern Conference seminal series 1-1.

Sports

June 9, 2021 - 10:25 AM

The Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid drives against the Atlanta Hawks' Clint Capela (15) against during the first half in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday. Photo by Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution / TNS

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid bounded on the court and pointed at Shake Milton following an electrifying stretch that might have saved Philadelphia’s season and yelled, “I told you be ready!”

Sure enough, Embiid — who had a sideline confrontation last season with Milton — rallied the forgotten guard with a pregame pep talk.

“For some reason,” Embiid said, “I felt like he was going to be needed.”

Milton buried a 32-footer and scored 14 points, and Embiid had a playoff-best 40 points and 13 rebounds to lead the 76ers past the Atlanta Hawks 118-102 in Game 2 on Tuesday night and even the Eastern Conference semifinal.

Game 3 is Friday in Atlanta.

“It really shows what the playoffs is about,” 76ers forward Tobias Harris said. “You never know who’s going to be able to step up.”

Milton took his turn in Game 2.

Milton shined at times as a sixth man this season before he fell out of favor and slogged through an awful first round against Washington (3.4 points per game).

With the reserves failing Philly for the second straight game against the Hawks — the Sixers had zero bench points at the half — coach Doc Rivers gave Milton a shot in the third.

The Sixers squandered a 21-point lead and Trae Young hit a pair of free throws in the third for Atlanta’s first lead, 80-79.

Then came Shake.

Milton did not play in the first half but promptly buried a quick 3 to make it 82-80 for Philadelphia’s first bench points in 34 minutes. He buried a long-distance 3 at the horn that sent the Sixers into the fourth quarter with a 91-84 lead and sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. He kept it going with a jumper early in the fourth that made it 95-84.

Rivers kept the faith and Shake rattled the Hawks and helped the Sixers roll to a 14-0 run that blew the game open and they avoided a straight second disaster at home.

“He prepared himself and he believed he would get another shot and he got it,” Rivers said.

Milton’s 14 minutes were the most valuable of Game 2.

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