Josh Hart Bang

The Nova Knicks Come Up Clutch to Eliminate Philly in Game 6

What a game and what a win for the New York Knicks to knock off the rival Philadelphia 76ers. It’s truly remarkable that was a first round series, it had the feeling of an Eastern Conference Finals. Five of the six games this series came down to the final minute to decide an outcome.


In the final 30 seconds of the game, the Nova Knicks shined; left uncovered by Philly, Josh Hart hit an enormous three to put the Knicks up three. New York then played the foul game to avoid an outcome like what happened in Game 5 at MSG. After burning more clock, Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson proceeded to hit clutch free throws; with a great defensive possession by DiVincenzo and Miles McBride to stop the Sixers from getting a good look to tie as time expired.

I said it on ‘From My Point of View’ this week, the Knicks have done a great job all season of executing late in the game. Game 5 was an anomaly, with several players making key mistakes to contribute to the overtime loss. Those mistakes didn’t affect the Knicks in Game 6. Clutch plays and good execution late in the fourth propels the Knicks to back-to-back second round appearances for the first time since ’98-’99, ’99-’00 seasons.

Series Overview

Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid

Embiid was flat out unwatchable at times. Multiple instances during the home stretch of several games, he attempted to draw a foul and get to the free throw line, rather than use his considerable skills to score the ball. I know some Sixers fans were miffed that Jalen Brunson was using the “Trae Young” move to get fouls, but Embiid was throwing himself at defenders to draw contact, these are not basketball plays.

With that, Embiid was still a beast. You have to give him credit for his hustle and determination to play such a high level of basketball after coming off knee surgery. It’s one thing to come back mid-season and slowly work your way up to a big work load; but to come back so late and then get thrust right into a series with the hard-nosed Knicks is a big ask, and he delivered. I don’t think there is more you could have asked from him.

Tyrese Maxey

Maxey earned a lot of respect this series, especially from Knicks fans. That Game 5 ending was something special from him, and he single-handedly ripped New York’s heart out and ate it in front of a packed MSG. Fortunately for the Knicks, Maxey struggled to get in that same groove in Game 6. Regardless, he had a terrific series, and at multiple points was the best player on the court.

Role Players

Kelly Oubre was good, Nic Batum had his moments, but oh my goodness was Tobias Harris horrific. Nothing more needs to be said about him. I can’t even say anything mean at this point. He’s just bad, a complete and total non-factor. Yikes.

New York Knicks

Significant Losses

The Sixers may have had Joel Embiid dealing with his knee, but the Knicks were banged up as well. Without the services of their two time All-NBA forward Julius Randle, and losing Bojan Bogdanovic to foot surgery for the rest of the playoffs, the Knicks rotation got really thin over the last two games of this series.

Jalen Brunson

Regardless, Jalen Brunson is a superstar. Big shot after big shot he made for the Knicks. Even with a slow start in the first two games, he went on to score 39, 47, 40, and 41 points. The unquestioned leader of the Knicks and the motor that makes them go. Not much more you can say about this guy, yet somehow there are still people who aren’t convinced he can be a 1A player, insanity.

Josh Hart

Hart hit several big time threes throughout the course of this series. His hustle and determination on loose balls and rebounds cannot be understated. This guy never comes off the court, and gives 110% effort on every possession. I have quite literally never seen anything like it. Every fan should want a Josh Hart on their team.

Donte DiVincenzo

After struggling mightily in Game 5, Donte DiVincenzo had a sensational Game 6, dialing up 23 points on 5-9 from three with seven assists and two very clutch free throws at the end of the game. He also played lockdown defense on Tyrese Maxey and had great ball denial; including forcing Maxey to give up his dribble on the Sixers final possession, which allowed precious seconds to tick away off the clock.

Role Players

OG Anunoby had multiple big time, momentum shifting plays in Game 6. Two three-pointers to stop Sixers runs and a poster on Joel Embiid to put the Knicks up multiple possessions (although he failed to convert a big and-one opportunity). As always, he was great on defense.

Can’t say enough about the young Miles “Deuce” McBride and the minutes and scoring he has been able to contribute off the bench. Big time spark plug that can shoot the ball and a very good perimeter defender.

The split minutes for Isaiah Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson was a success. Too much of one or the other and the Sixers started to attack them. Each had their own successes and struggles throughout the series, but together, they provide a luxury not many teams have: two starting-caliber Centers. Hartenstein had his push-shot floater working in Game 6 to provide some much needed offense, and Robinson’s post defense was key to the Knicks overall defense.

Tom Thibodeau is the perfect coach for this team. Every single person on the New York Knicks gives 100% effort every single game. It’s actually physically exhausting to watch. Every game, every possession, every rebound, loose ball, etc. It’s all effort all the time. These guys love it, they crave it, and Thibs is the perfect fit for this team and this city. I can only imagine how this team would be buzzing with a healthy Julius Randle.

Round 2 vs Indiana Pacers

The Knicks will face the Indiana Pacers in the second round, after Indy took down the hobbled Milwaukee Bucks in round one. A lot of history between these two franchises, but also some drama between these current rosters (the players would never admit such a thing exists).

Former Knick Obi Toppin was traded to the Pacers last summer for a better opportunity to play. He had 21 points in the series clinching game against Milwaukee. Jalen Brunson’s former coach in Dallas, Rick Carlisle, is now the coach for the Pacers; and I would bet that the broadcast brings up Wally Szczerbiak’s “Tyrese Haliburton fake all-star” comments multiple times this series.

As for the actually matchup: the Pacers are young, fast, and like to shoot the ball. Their entire philosophy is to shoot you out of the building and put points on the board, and if that means getting into a shootout, so be it, they’re willing to do that.

The Knicks ranked top 10 in offensive and defensive ratings this year, whereas the Pacers ranked second in offensive rating, but just 24th in defensive rating. It will be a battle, and it will surely be entertaining. These are two seasoned coaches at the helm as well, their battle of minds will be something to keep an eye on.

The Knicks battled a tough Sixers team in round one, and the Pacers beat on an injured Bucks team, perhaps that can be the difference in this round two matchup; can the Pacers hang with the tough-as-nails Knicks?

I don’t think so, Knicks in 5.

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