The San Antonio Spurs came to Atlanta this summer to take on the Hawks and the first of two games at Philips Arena was a thrilling, back and forth game. In the end, the Spurs couldn’t hold off the Hawks enough to keep them from winning the game, and with the win, the Hawks are now just 2 games behind the Spurs with a chance to catch up in the standings.

As the NBA Finals continue, it seems like every player is getting a chance to show what his team needs to do to win it all. Kevin Durant has been great so far, missing only one shot in the series. LeBron James has shown why people think he’s the greatest player in the world, even when he’s not. And Chris Paul has led the Clippers to a 2-0 lead on the Spurs.

The Philadelphia 76ers entered Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a great chance to take the lead in the series. A win Monday night would give the Sixers a 3-1 lead over the Atlanta Hawks and a chance to close out the series in front of a boisterous Wells Fargo Center in Game 5. The Sixers led by 13 points at halftime, but for much of the second half they could not make the winning shots needed to end the game. After the embarrassing loss, head coach Doc Rivers did not blame his team for not making an effort (or not making an effort) in the decisive Game 4.

Sixers come up short in final moments and lose Game 4

. Things were looking good for the Sixers going into Game 4 against the Hawks on Monday night. Philadelphia led Atlanta 62-49 in the first half, and it looked like a 3-1 lead in the series was inevitable. But the Hawks were not about to give up. They fought their way back into the game in the second half when the Sixers suddenly looked listless and anxious. Joel Embiid couldn’t find his style of play, the offense stagnated and the Sixers threw away every loose ball. In the end, the Hawks walked away with a 103-100 victory. You can give Embiid a pass for his first night of rough shooting on his torn meniscus. An attack can be forgiven for panicking when their best player doesn’t perform as usual. But you can’t forgive a team for losing on the field in the most important game of the season. Effort is a choice. The Sixers opted not to give John Collins any rebounds, as he went on a rampage against the Whitecaps, grabbing rebound after rebound throughout the game. They chose not to get on the field while the Hawks fought for every loose ball. Monday night, the Hawks decided to fight for their playoff lives. The Sixers don’t.

Doc Rivers mocks Sixers after embarrassing loss

word-image-8951 word-image-8952 Head coach Doc Rivers complains about the call during the first quarter of the Philadelphia 76ers’ game at the Wells Fargo Center | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images Philadelphia fans couldn’t be happy as they watched their 3-1 series lead slip away in Atlanta. And if they weren’t happy with the performance, imagine how the head coach felt. After losing in Game 4, Rivers blamed his team for playing heroically and being exhausted all night. We stopped passing, Rivers told reporters Monday. I think that’s how we started the game, then we moved the ball again, and then we played heroic basketball again. Actually, everyone wanted to be a hero, not only trusting the team, but also themselves. And when you do that, you tend to lose, especially when the other team makes you work the whole game, which was the case today. Rivers said the Hawks were the more physical team throughout the game. And for a Sixers team that has one of the biggest and most impressive starting lineups in the NBA, that’s not a good sign for the future. I was very disappointed in our approach today, Rivers said. Give the Hawks credit. I think they were hitting, I think they were making us move on the field. I think Collins was the strongest man on the field all night. You’ll see the numbers from others, but I think Collins was the best today. I just banged on the glass all night and kept it alive. I just thought they were physically stronger, tougher, and it didn’t make much difference tonight.

Rivers admits the Sixers missed a great opportunity

. Instead of returning to Philadelphia with a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Sixers now have to win Game 5 2-2. In the NBA playoffs, teams can’t afford to miss opportunities and hope to make up for them in the next game. Championship teams go for the jugular when they see a sign of weakness. The Sixers failed Monday night, and now the Hawks have come back to life. We missed so many opportunities, Rivers said. I’m looking forward to the movie, but my eyes tell me we missed a golden opportunity today. COMPARED TO: Joel Embiid has no plans for luxury purchases after his $147 million contract extension: All I really need are my video games and a big TV

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