ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young tried to reassure Atlanta coach Nate McMillan after it became clear the Hawks point guard was hiding a sore shoulder.
McMillan had no complaints after Young lifted the Hawks to a crucial win over top-seeded Philadelphia.
Young overcame a cold start to score 25 points, including a floater that gave Atlanta the lead with 1:17 remaining, and the Hawks rallied to beat the 76ers 103-100 yesterday, tying the Eastern Conference semifinal at 2-2.
Young’s right shoulder was taped, which McMillan saw for the first time when the point guard took off his warmups before the game.
“He kind of gave me a look like he didn’t know about it,” Young said. “I told him ‘We’re fine, we’re good, let’s go win.’”
Philly blew an 18-point lead and may have bigger concerns: Big man Joel Embiid spent time in the locker room in the second quarter and was 0-for-12 from the field in the second half.
“Even before I went back to the locker room I felt like I didn’t have it,” Embiid said.
Embiid is playing with torn cartilage in his right knee.
“I guess it’s already known,” Embiid said, confirming the knee was what caused him to leave the bench. “There’s no need to explain myself anymore. I’m just trying to do the best I can.”
Embiid finished with 17 points and 21 rebounds.
“I’ve coached a lot of games where guys haven’t had it all night but they’re still your guys,” coach Doc Rivers said, adding he would take Embiid “whether you’ve got it going or not”.
Philadelphia guard Seth Curry said Embiid “was pressing maybe a little bit”.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 22 points for the Hawks, and John Collins had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Young made only 8 of 26 shots but had 18 assists, matching his career high.
“This team never gives up, no matter what the score is,” Young said. “I love the way we fight and I’m proud of our team tonight.”
Tobias Harris scored 20 points for the Sixers and Curry had 17, missing a potential tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Sixers led 60-42 late in the first half but Atlanta chipped away in the third quarter. Bogdanovic opened the final period with a three-pointer to give Atlanta its first lead of the half, 83-82.
Young’s floater with 1:17 remaining gave Atlanta a 99-98 lead, and his two free throws pushed the advantage to three.