Hawks, Nuggets hope home court provides edge in semifinals

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Philadelphia 76ers' Seth Curry, left, goes up for a shot past Atlanta Hawks' John Collins during the first half of Game 2 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

ATLANTA – John Collins already has seen what playoff success has done to raise the hometown excitement for the Atlanta Hawks.

Collins is eager for the opportunity to build more enthusiasm now that the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers has shifted to Atlanta.

With the series tied 1-1, Game 3 will be played on Friday.

There is less heading into Friday's Game 3 matchup between Phoenix and Denver. The Suns hold a 2-0 lead over the Nuggets in their Western Conference semifinal in a series that Phoenix seems to be in total control.

In Atlanta, the Hawks announced a sellout on Thursday for Game 3 and said only a few seats remain for Monday's Game 4.

The Hawks have won 13 consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the NBA. The streak includes two home wins as Atlanta beat the New York Knicks in five games in the first round.

Collins said he found evidence of Atlanta's playoff fever at his neighborhood gas station.

“I go into the same gas station I would go into every single time and the dude working the desk wouldn’t know me until we beat New York and now I come in there and his face is lit up, you know what I mean?” Collins said Thursday.