LOS ANGELES – The Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks advanced to an Eastern Conference semifinal matchup on Wednesday, concluding emphatic series wins over the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks.
Seth Curry’s 30-point display helped the Sixers ignore Joel Embiid’s injury absence as the top seeds completed a 4-1 victory in the playoff series with a 129-112 loss to the Wizards in Philadelphia
In New York, the fifth-seeded Hawks ended the Knicks’ season with a 103-89 win at Madison Square Garden to clinch the best-of-seven 4-1 series after a resounding contest.
The Sixers and Hawks will now face off for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Sixers had been rocked by the news early Wednesday that the influential and great Embiid had suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee after an uncomfortable fall in game four on Monday.
But Doc Rivers’ team handled matters with a calm performance that sees them advance to an Eastern Conference semifinal matchup against the Atlanta Hawks or New York Knicks.
“It was a great team win,” Sixers coach Rivers said afterward. “I love how we play. We got down early but didn’t panic.
“They really believed that they were the best team today. They played with that kind of confidence. It was what would be called a team victory with all hands in. “
After a tight first half, Philadelphia prevailed in the third period, beating the Wizards 38-31.
Another flurry of touchdowns midway through the fourth period sealed the contest, with Curry, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris scoring six unanswered points to put Philadelphia 118-100 ahead with just under six minutes to play.
Harris finished with 28 points while Simmons completed a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Dwight Howard, Tyrese Maxey and Furkan Korkmaz also made double figures.
Rivers reserved the price for Simmons’ performance. “I keep saying, stick with him, he’s a great player,” Rivers said. “He does a lot for the team, he really does.”
Bradley Beal led the Wizards scoring with 32 points, while Russell Westbrook failed to add another triple-double to his tally for the season, falling short with 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
In New York, Trae Young delivered a 36-point masterclass for Atlanta in a moody victory at the Garden.
Players on both sides fought as they left the court at halftime in a game peppered with technical fouls.
Young led the Atlanta scorers with the support of De’Andre Hunter (15 points) and John Collins (13). Clint Capela intervened with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 23 points, while RJ Barrett had 17 points.
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