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Joel Embiid can’t be the biggest fan of Trae Young.

Not only does Embiid play for a rival Eastern Conference foe, but he also got bounced from the playoffs by Young’s Atlanta Hawks in 2021 when the Philadelphia 76ers had maybe their best chance to reach the NBA Finals. But on Tuesday night, Young did Embiid a solid when he willed the Hawks to a season-saving victory against the Boston Celtics to extend the first-round series to at least six games.

By doing so, the point guard gave Embiid two extra days to rest his sprained knee before the second round of the NBA Playoffs begin.

Trae Young heroically extends the Hawks’ season

The Hawks looked down and out by the middle of the fourth quarter in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Celtics. Already down 3-1 in the series, Atlanta needed a 14-point comeback in the final six minutes of the game to keep its season alive.

Then, Trae Young happened.

In the final 3 minutes and 18 seconds of the game, Young ripped off 14 straight points for the Hawks. With Atlanta down by one point in the final seconds, the two-time All-Star drilled a deep, pull-up three to shock the Celtics and save his team’s season. The first-round series will now shift back to Atlanta for Game 6 on Thursday.

The NBA world watched in amazement as Young’s heroics led the Hawks to a miraculous win. Even Joel Embiid was impressed.

“This is some good hoops!!!#IceTrae,” Embiid wrote in a tweet Tuesday night.

But Embiid wasn’t just dazzled by Young’s fourth-quarter performance. He also knew how important that win was for Philadelphia’s playoff run.

Joel Embiid owes Trae Young a thank you card

Joel Embiid guards Trae Young.
Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles the ball against Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Young’s game-winning shot Tuesday night saved the season for the Hawks, but it was almost as important for Embiid and the 76ers.

Embiid suffered a sprained LCL in his right knee during Philadelphia’s Game 3 win against the Brooklyn Nets, and his status for the second round is up in the air. It’s possible the superstar center would’ve missed Game 1 of the second-round series on Saturday had the Celtics expelled the Hawks Tuesday night. But thanks to Young, Game 1 of the Sixers’ second-round series has now been pushed back to next Monday.

Those two extra days of rest could be crucial for Embiid’s chances to suit up at the beginning of the second round. The Sixers have little to no chance against the Celtics (or Hawks?) if Embiid misses time, so Young’s heroics may have saved Philly’s season.

I hope a thank you card is on its way to Young’s home in Atlanta right now.


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