Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers take 2-1 series lead with blowout of Atlanta Hawks

The Philadelphia 76ers blitzed the host Atlanta Hawks on both ends in the third quarter of Game 3, making a comfortable lead insurmountable and coasting to a 2-1 series advantage in the Eastern Conference finals.

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Seth Curry netted Philadelphia's first 24 points after halftime and outscored the Hawks 29-19 in the third, building a 20-point cushion by quarter's end. The 76ers' 127-111 victory on Friday night returns homecourt advantage to the East's No. 1 seed entering Monday's Game 4 in Atlanta.

After scoring 79 points in the first two games of the series, Embiid again led the Sixers with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Tobias Harris added 22 points, Simmons 18 and Curry 12. Starting 76ers wing Danny Green suffered a right calf strain minutes into the game, but Philadelphia's bench scored 48 points in his absence, led by 12 points and six rebounds from Dwight Howard and 14 points for Furkan Korkmaz.

The long arms of Simmons and Matisse Thybulle again prevented Hawks star Trae Young from dominating as he did in Game 1. Young still managed 28 points on 9-for-17 shooting and eight assists, but a swarming Philadelphia defense prevented much of the action Young's probing generates for Atlanta's potent offense.

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers had a step on the Atlanta Hawks all night. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers had a step on the Atlanta Hawks all night. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Eleven straight points from Korkmaz, including two 3-pointers and three free throws on another attempt, gave the Sixers a 24-16 cushion late in the first quarter, and the Hawks came within a possession again. Atlanta did trim Philadelphia's lead to five on a driving layup by Young just before the break, but the Sixers came out fully prepared to bury an underdog Atlanta team that won Game 1 and hung around in Game 2.

John Collins added 23 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points. Danilo Gallinari generated 17 points off the bench, but Philadelphia's reserves outscored Atlanta's, 48-32. Kevin Huerter's three points were a disappointment for a Hawks second unit that had been their advantage.

The two teams will tip again in what is a crucial game for the Hawks on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

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