76ers vs Hawks Game 4 Preview and Betting Prediction
After drawing first blood and winning Game 1, the Atlanta Hawks have suffered back-to-back losses and now trail 2-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers shaping tonight into a must-win Game 4.
In order for the Hawks to even up the series, they are going to need their star young point guard, Tray Young, to deliver an exceptional performance as he did in the first round against The New York Knicks.
From the Philadelphia side of things, the 76ers are going to need to continue feeding Embiid in the post, and put the clamps down on not only Young but all of Atlanta’s shooters.
Hawks Looking to Soar High After Back-Back Losses
Physicality is an aspect of this series that does not get talked about as much as it should. Philadelphia’s swarming and physical defense the past two games have definitely affected the Hawks shooting percentage and their overall confidence to play their style of game. If the Hawks are going to pull off the upset, they are going to have to give Philadelphia a little bit of their own medicine and rough them up a little as well.
Coaching is another factor that I think has decided the outcome of the first three games in the series. In Game 1, Mike Woodson instilled confidence in his players that beating the one-seeded Sixers is possible. Additionally, he drew up some magnificent plays to get his guys’ open looks. It all started with penetration, something Doc Rivers and staff took away from Atlanta in Games 2 and 3.
Doc Rivers ultimately made the adjustment to put their best defenders on Young in order to stop his drive and kick ability. The length and quickness of Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle have given Tray Young fits in the previous two games. It has made it difficult for him to not only get open looks but generate quality shots for his teammates.
In order for the Hawks to regain their home run hitting style offense, it would be wise for Coach Woodson to put Young in more pick and roll action, where he can get the switch he wants on smaller/less athletic defenders.
Who Has the Edge Tonight?
Lucky for the Hawks, Game 4 resides in Atlanta where their fans can give the team the confidence and hope they need to tie up this series. Game 3 was the only game the Hawks have lost on their homecourt thus far this postseason.
I find it hard to believe that they will lose 3 games in a row (two of which being on their home court.) Atlanta has fought hard all season long, and I do not see them going down in an essentially must-win game for them. If they cannot get it done tonight, I do not see Atlanta winning the next three games in a row.
The Hawks will be ready and so will their raucous fans. I see Young putting up a marvelous game tonight in a high-scoring, scrappy, grind-it-out type of game. I give Atlanta the advantage in a nail-biter down the stretch.
The Pick: Hawks +3.5