The last time a Philadelphia team played a postseason game in Atlanta was the 1993 Phillies in Game 5 of the NLCS. Lenny Dykstra hit a 10th-inning home run to put Macho Row within one game of a World Series berth almost unimaginable before that season started. Top that, Jo-Jo.
Here are a dozen things to ponder ahead of Friday’s Game 3 between the Sixers and the Hawks (7:30, ESPN).
1. Doc Rivers should have fond memories of Atlanta, where he spent eight seasons as a player from 1983 to 1991. He’s second in Hawks history in playoff assists (to Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens), and once had 22 dimes in a win over Boston in 1988. That still stands as the sixth-most assists in a postseason game among all players since 1984. He had one turnover that night.
2. The Hawks are 19-2 at home since Nate McMillan took over as head coach on March 1, including a pair of comfortable wins over the Knicks in the first round. In a similar span, the Sixers are 11-8 in their last 21 road games.
3. Philadelphia opened as 1½-point favorites. Home teams are 5-1-1 against the spread in the second round entering Thursday, according to Dave Tuley of VSIN.
4. Atlanta center Clint Capela was born in Geneva and grew up admiring Thabo Sefolosha, another Swiss native who was drafted by the Sixers in 2013 before being dealt on draft night for Rodney Carney.
5. “When I was in my country, to me, [Sefolosha] was the only guy who made it here,” Capela told the Houston Chronicle in 2017. “I had to look up to some player that did it from where I was, and he was the only one. He was the one I was following.” The only other NBA players born in Switzerland are Enes Kanter and Nikola Vučević. Not a bad foursome.
6. Seth Curry has hit 15-of-26 three-pointers in four games against Atlanta this season (57.7%). Curry is 10-for-15 this series (66.7%).
7. De’Andre Hunter, considered Atlanta’s best perimeter defender, needs right knee surgery and will miss the rest of the season. Hunter, who went to Friends’ Central in Wynnewood, did not play in the first two games of this series.
8. The Sixers snapped the Hawks’ four-game winning streak on Tuesday, a modest number that is their longest postseason streak since they moved from St. Louis to Atlanta in 1968-69. The Sixers’ franchise record is held by the 1983 team, which won its first seven on the way to the NBA title. The 2017 Warriors hold the all-time mark with 15 in a row.
9. The most points by a Hawks opponent in a playoff game is 54 by John Havlicek in 1973. Wilt Chamberlain had 50 against then-St. Louis in 1964. They are the only two players to reach fitty against the Hawks in the postseason. We bring this up because Joel Embiid has posted 39 and 40 in the first two games.
10. Embiid’s 58 free-throw attempts were tops in the playoffs entering Thursday. He’s made 50 of ‘em for a sparkling 86.2%.
11. Teams up two games to one win postseason series 81.0% of the time, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
12. Shake Milton’s first name is Malik. He picked up his nickname while he was still in the womb as a tribute to his late father, Myrion “Milkman” Milton. Dad also was known as “Milk,” hence Shake’s moniker.