The sky is not falling. Playoff series generally are not easy to win, especially when your best player is doing everything he can on one leg.
Hopefully for the Sixers, a return to the Wells Fargo Center will inspire the supporting cast, many of whom were missing in the second half of Game 4 in Atlanta. Here are 10 things to consider as these teams get set to break a 2-2 series tie on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., TNT). The Sixers are favored by 6 points.
1. That 4-for-20 Joel Embiid shooting disaster in Game 3 was bad, but not even the worst in Sixers postseason history. Hal Greer shot 3-for-23 in a 1969 loss to the Celtics, and Julius Erving went from Doctor to bricklayer when he went 4-for-21 in 1985, also against the Celtics.
2. The lousiest shooting performance overall, minimum 20 attempts, in a playoff game actually is shared by two Hall of Famers. Karl Malone in 1997, and Bob Cousy in 1957, each clanged his way to 2-for-20. There is a glimmer of hope for Embiid: Malone exploded for 42 the next game (12-for-27 shooting) and Cousy had his nightmare in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, which his Celtics won. Of course, it doesn’t appear either was playing with torn meniscus in his knee.
3. According to Basketball-Reference.com, it was the 40th time a player went 4-for-20 or worse in a playoff game. Among the dignitaries on this ignominious list (besides Doc, Greer, Cousy, and Mailman) are Kobe Bryant, Jimmy Butler, Vince Carter, James Harden, Tommy Heinsohn, George Mikan, Donovan Mitchell, Bill Sharman, and Klay Thompson.
4. Hawks reserve Danilo Gallinari, who wears No. 8, was born 8/8/88. He was even drafted in 2008, but he went sixth overall. Joe Alexander went eighth.
5. Furkan Korkmaz shot 41.1% on three-pointers at home during the regular season (60-for-146), and just 33.3% on the road (41-for-123). Those numbers are reversed in the playoffs, though with a much smaller sample size: 30.8% at home (4-for-13), 43.8% on the road (7-for-16).
6. Teams that won Game 5 at home of series that were tied 2-2 went on to win 100 out of 110 series (90.9%).
7. Teams that lost Game 5 at home of series that were tied 2-2 came back to win just 12 of 33 series (36.4%).
8. Dwight Howard is averaging a very effective 6.0 points and 6.9 rebounds in just under 14 minutes per game off the bench for the Sixers.
9. Trae Young is the first player in NBA history to have at least 20 points and seven assists in his first nine playoff games. Notable point guards and how many times they had 20/7 in their first nine postseason contests: Steph Curry (5), Luka Doncic (7), James Harden (0), Damian Lillard (3), Magic Johnson (1), Chris Paul (5), Ben Simmons (1), John Stockton (0), Russell Westbrook (5).
10. The Sixers entered Monday’s game down to 6-1 to win the NBA title at most sportsbooks. It was the lowest they’d been all season. They opened at 20-1, and were 8-1 at the start of the playoffs, according to SportsOddsHistory.com. After Monday’s loss, they ticked up slightly to about 7-1.