NBA Legend Magic Johnson compliments the Hawks and how they used the free-throw line against Ben Simmons to fuel their comeback
The Philadelphia 76ers blew a golden opportunity to gain a lead in the playoff series. Once the Sixers were up 26, it was assumed that the Hawks would go back home and prepare for a do-or-die game. However, the Hawks had different plans. A second-half comeback and an excellent fourth quarter helped the Hawks secure a 109-106 win.
Joel Embiid was magnificent, scoring 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists. Embiid also recorded 2 steals and 4 blocks. Seth Curry scored 36 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. As for the Hawks, Trae Young scored a game-high 39 points and dished 7 assists.
The Hawks scripted a fourth-quarter comeback, outscoring the Sixers 40-19. The bench provided key scoring for the Hawks, whereas the Sixers bench’s offense was nowhere to be found.
‘The Hack-a-Shaq on Ben Simmons was ingenious: Magic Johnson
Ben Simmons had a Game 5 which he would like to forget as soon as he can. He just attempted 4 shots, out of which he made two. However, he contributed to the Hawks’ comeback in a way that he would not have liked. Ben Simmons is a terrible free-throw shooter. He has been making only 32.8% of his free throws this post-season. The Hawks knew that and used that to their advantage.
Magic Johnson pointed out the same and complimented the Hawks’ HC Nate McMillan for the same. The Hawks kept fouling Simmons, forcing him to shoot free throws, which he missed, resulting in stops on the defensive end.
Give Hawks Coach Nate McMillan a lot of credit he did the hack-a-Shaq on Ben Simmons to send him to the free throw line and it fueled the Hawks comeback.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 17, 2021
Hack-a-Shaq is a defensive technique that was named after Shaquille O’Neal. The HOF center, though he was an outstanding scorer, was not a shooter. It is a technique used when the player is known to be a bad free-throw shooter, so you foul them in hopes of getting empty possessions.
The same worked for the Hawks, as Ben Simmons was 4-14 from the Charity stripe. Doc Rivers ultimately had to sub him out to stop the bleeding.
The Sixers now make their way to Atlanta, while being on the back foot. They would like to force a Game 7. Game 6 takes place in Atlanta on Friday.