Trae Young ripped off his jersey and bounded up the steps to toss his dad the souvenir from the first Game 7 road victory in Hawks history. He shook off a cold shooting night and improbably helped Atlanta become road warriors one more time, and now the Hawks are taking their stunning turnaround to the Eastern Conference finals.
Young made a late 3-pointer and scored 21 points to help Atlanta win for the third time in the series in Philadelphia, a 103-96 victory over the top-seeded 76ers on Sunday night in Game 7. The Hawks will open their first East finals since 2015 against the Bucks on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
“I felt like they were built for this moment tonight to win this game,” coach Nate McMillan said. Atlanta had been 0-9 in Games 7s on the road. But the Hawks ignored their ignominious history and got one in Philly, where they already won in Game 1 and Game 5 and knocked out Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and closed the book on the debated rebuilding plan known as the Process.
Not so deep down, not even the Hawks could have seen this coming, especially in March when they were 14-20, 11th in the Eastern Conference and fired coach Lloyd Pierce.