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76ers live report: Big third quarter spurs Sixers past Knicks as Embiid scores 50

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PHILADELPHIA — The 76ers regained their aim when it mattered Thursday night, and now still have playoff life.

A 3-point third-quarter barrage erased a 3-point halftime deficit, sending the 76ers to a 125-114 win over the Knicks in Game 3 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals in the Wells Fargo Center’s deafening din.

 New York won the first two games in the best-of-7 series, creating a sense of urgency for the home team Thursday.

Game 4 is back here Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Sixers drained nine from beyond the arc in the third period – four by Joel Embiid, two by Tyrese Maxey and one each by Kyle Lowry, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cameron Payne.

They outscored New York 43-27 in those 12 minutes to take a 98-85 lead into the final period. The 76ers were 15-for-31 on 3-pointers in the game.

Embiid, serenaded by “MVP! MVP!” chants, finished the night with 50 points, highlighted by 5-for-7 aim on threes and 19-for-21 free-throw shooting.

Maxey scored 25, Oubre 15 and Payne 11 off the bench, as the Sixers got a much-needed boost from players not named Embiid or Maxey.

But, certainly, Embiid, the 2023 NBA MVP who missed the last two months of the regular season after knee surgery, set the tone.

Ex-Villanova guard Jalen Brunson, in the arena where he played some college games, had 38 points for the Knicks.

Flagrants foul up Philly

The scoring margin was of less concern to the home fans than the difference in flagrant fouls early on Thursday.

Sixers rooters in the Wells Fargo Center vocally expressed their disdain over several referees’ decisions in a first quarter that closed with the Knicks ahead 29-27 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

The Knicks still led at halftime 58-55.

Kyle Lowry earned a flagrant 2 from striking Donte DiVincenzo’s head on a drive to the basket, though replays suggested some possible embellishment by the Knicks guard from Salesianum.

A play under the Knicks basket earned Joel Embiid a flagrant one and a second foul, after he’d earlier earned an offensive infraction when Knicks low-post counterpart Isaiah Hartenstine had also gotten physical.

Embiid had 17 points and Tyrese Maxey 11 through the first half in which the 76ers shot just 44.2 percent overall and 5-for-17 on 3-pointers. The Knicks were 7-for-14 on 3-pointers and 48 percent overall.

Villanova homecoming game

DiVincenzo and two of his fellow Knicks guards will step onto a court where they periodically excelled as Villanova collegians.

They are certain not be received so warmly by the home crowd with the 76ers desperately needing a win when the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinals resume at the Wells Fargo Center tonight.

DiVincenzo and ex-Wildcats Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart have played a key role in New York winning the first two games at Madison Square Garden 111-104 Saturday and 104-101 Monday.

Late 3-pointers by Hart and DiVincenzo sealed Monday’s verdict. Brunson is averaging 23.0 points through the first two games, Hart 21.5 and DiVincenzo 13.5.

 They are away from their home court and vocal Knicks supporters tonight, but in familiar surroundings nonetheless.

Brunson blew a kiss to the crowd after draining a 3-pointer three minutes in.

DiVincenzo was then the victim of a flagrant foul driving to the basket five minutes in when Kyle Lowery grazed him in the head. Replays showed little contact, resulting in some vocal protests from 76ers rooters.

Hart then drilled a 3-pointer to inch the Knicks ahead 18-15, earning a roar from New York fans.

GAME 2 REPORT: DiVincenzo delivers in clutch, 76ers can’t hold late lead vs. Knicks

“They’re a lot different than they were when they were at Villanova,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before Thursday’s Game 3. “They’ve all had experiences. Dante’s been with four different teams. Same thing, Josh has been around. Jalen has been with a couple teams.

“So I think from each experience they learn, they grow. So it’s a plus.”

Sixers’ needs numerous

Rebounds and role players.

The 76ers will need more of the former and more from the latter to avoid going three games down in the series.

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have provided most of the Sixers’ firepower, averaging 31.5 and 34 points the first two games. That’s what’s expected.

But what’s needed is more from others.

Kyle Lowry has averaged 13.0, Tobias Harris 8.5 and Kelly Oubre Jr. 7.0. Off the bench, the Sixers have gotten just 17 total points from Nicolas Batum, Paul Reed and Buddy Hield.

That’s not nearly enough, especially to counter a Knicks team that has seven players averaging 9.5 points or more and benefitted from hot hands beyond the arc.

The Sixers were also outrebounded 55-33 in Game 1 before trailing just 46-44 in that category Monday.

Coach Nick Nurse said the 76ers must improve.

“I think we still have to do better,” he said. “ . . . It’s a challenge. They’re really good at it.”

Contact Kevin Tresolini at ktresolini@delawareonline.com and follow on Twitter @kevintresolini. Support local journalism by subscribing to delawareonline.com and our DE Game Day newsletter.

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