Joel Embiid Predicts Sixers Take Series From Knicks Despite 2-0 Hole

The New York Knicks finished off a late-game comeback to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in Madison Square Garden, 104-101, taking a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA
(Frank Franklin II/AP Photo)

With 28 seconds left in the game, the Sixers were up 101-96, but the Knicks were able to quickly turn the tide, after Jalen Brunson hit a three, to make it a one-possession game. Then, Josh Hart stole the inbound pass from Tyrese Maxey, and the loose ball was kicked out to Donte DiVincenzo, who missed his first three-point attempt, but then got another chance off an offensive rebound from Isaiah Hartenstein; DiVincenzo sank the three with 13 seconds left, which suddenly gave the Knicks a 102-101 lead. 

The late-game events were accredited to the Knicks’ grit, which has been a part of their identity all season long, “It was crazy, it was hectic, but at that point we had nothing to lose,” Hart told NBA reporters after putting up 21 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. “Got to get as physical as we can, and it panned out.” 

The Knicks were able to go up 2-0 at home, despite their best player, Brunson, missing a combined 39 shots (29% FG) through the first two games of the series. To note, Brunson averaged a career-high 28.7 points (47.9% FG; 40% 3P) this season, but undoubtedly has struggled to find his shot so far in the playoffs, as he shot 8-for-26 (22 points) in Game 1, and then shot 8-for-29 (24 points) in Game 2. To point out, Brunson also struggled vs. Philadelphia during the regular season, as he is now averaging 22.5 points (35% FG; 26% 3P) in six games vs. the 76ers this season. 

Coming off a 33-point Game 1 performance, NBA All-Star Maxey had a game-high 35 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists in a losing effort, “Got to put it behind us now,” Maxey said. “You’ve got 48 hours to think about it and come up with a plan to get two at home.”

Despite the odds stacked against the 76ers down 2-0 in the series, Joel Embiid remained confident after dropping 34 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, “We’re good. We gonna win this series, We gonna win this. We know what we gotta fix, we did a better job today, so we gonna fix it. We are the better team. We’re gonna keep fighting.” 

Important to keep in mind, that teams down 2-0 in a series have a huge disadvantage; when looking at previous history, only 33 out of 449 teams (7.3%) have ever come back to win a playoff series after being down 0-2. The 76ers will attempt to defy the odds, as they host the Knicks for Game 3 in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 pm ET. 

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