The Battle of the East: Knicks vs 76ers

Coming into the NBA Playoffs as the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks just placed themselves in a fine position during the first round of basketball. The Knicks have beaten the Philadelphia 76ers twice at Madison Square Garden to give them a 2-0 lead going into the third game. The Knicks now have a chance to hold off the 76ers and they need to win at least one of the upcoming away games so that they have a great chance to finish their series with homecourt advantage, that is if they cannot beat the 76ers twice at the Wells Fargo Center. The last game the Knicks played against the 76ers was a dramatic finish.

Sports analysts have debated whether the 76ers recent loss to the Knicks or the Los Angeles Lakers recent loss to the reigning defending champions Denver Nuggets was a worse loss. The reason the 76ers loss to the Knicks is in the debate is because the 76ers had just 47.3 seconds left with a 101-96 lead. There was a crazy sequence of two three-point shots for Knicks, where one of them was Jalen Brunson knocking down a strange shot that bounced off the front of the rim after Donte DiVincenzo grabbed a loose ball. Philadelphia point guard Tyrese Maxey was forced into a turnover on an in-bounds pass by the double-team by Josh Hart and Brunson.

The score then became 101-102 led by Knicks. Maxey then got the basketball inbounded to him backcourt and he dribbled quickly for a layup with little time and was blocked by Isaiah
Hartenstein. Knicks OG Anunoby gains possession of the ball and then gets fouled with 6.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

He hit both free throws and the 76ers were not ready to give it up. 76ers superstar Joel Embiid
shot a three-pointer right before the game ended, and the contested attempt was unsuccessful. Yet again, the Knicks pulled away with a dramatic win.

The Knicks gave the 76ers a huge loss that made Embiid say that Monday’s loss to the Knicks in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series outranks all of them. Now it may not to the majority feel like a more devastating loss than when Kawhi Leonard hit his iconic buzzer beater shot to help the Toronto Raptors edge out the 76ers in the 2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals. It is understandable that Embiid would feel that way about his loss to the Knicks because his team had complete control of the game at Madison Square Garden. The superstar was getting ready to head to homecourt advantage with an away win and then the flow of things completely changes with such little time left on the clock.

At this point, the Knicks are in full control. The 76ers have their backs against the wall entering Game 3. “We’re gonna win this,” Embiid said of the series after being angry from the Game 2 loss. The Knicks sure have done some damage psychologically to the 76ers because the team has not gotten past the Eastern Conference semifinals each of the last three seasons. This time it is possible for them to get eliminated in the first round.

The Knicks can get at least one win in Philadelphia which is crucial, and they should be able to finish round 1 with a victory. The Knicks are not a 2nd seeded team in the Eastern Conference for no reason, and there are no excuses for the 76ers because of the dramatic finishes by the Knicks.
The series is still intense because the 76ers remain optimistic. “We did have a chance to winthose two games. So all we have to do is keep fighting,” said Nicolas Batum.

If the Knicks advance past the first round of the NBA Playoffs, how much further can they get? For the second round, they would have to play against the 6-seeded Indiana Pacers or the 3-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are having a little trouble playing without Giannis
Antetokounmpo because of his calf injury. It is possible the Pacers could beat the Bucks in round one, and then the Knicks could handle them better rather than if the Bucks advance and Antetokounmpo comes back ready to play basketball. The circumstances of the tournament dictate how the Knicks will do.

It is likely that if the Knicks advance to the Eastern Conference finals, they will have to face the 1-seeded Boston Celtics. The Celtics have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs and are favorited to win the 2024 NBA Finals Championship. The Boston Celtics finished the regular season with 64 wins and 18 losses, which is the best record in the league. The Knicks will have their hands full if they go up against such an all-around loaded roster.

Anything is possible, and the Celtics can somehow get eliminated before facing off against the Knicks. If that happens, then the Knicks may have a chance at reaching the NBA Finals. The Knicks would be left with facing the Miami Heat without their star Jimmy Butler, the Cleveland Cavaliers, or the Orlando Magic. Even then, whoever the Knicks go up against will be a tough battle, but surely easier than going against the Celtics.

The 76ers right now are shaken up a little bit. Embiid had a good last game posting 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in 39 minutes. Another good performance was by Tyrese Maxey, who posted 35 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds in 44 minutes. Those two performances were more dominant than anyone else’s performance for the Knicks.

Overall, the Knicks have beaten the 76ers twice with both games being dramatic finishes in round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. The 76ers are fired up after those losses and seek to tie the series and gain momentum at the Wells Fargo Arena. The Knicks will have to give their best effort tobconquer what is ahead of them these next few games. Can the Knicks go ahead and justbdramatically sweep the Philadelphia 76ers?

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