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Knicks vs 76ers Game 4 Preview: Who, How to Watch

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A physical battle between New York and Philadelphia is slated to go down on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET … but the Giants and Eagles are nowhere to be found.

The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers face a fateful fourth game in their ongoing opening round playoff series, a best-of-seven set that stands at 2-1 after Thursday’s punchy third stanza centered around Sixers star and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid.

Embiid put forth a historic 50-point effort but metropolitan circles will remember his strong outing for overly physical play, including a questionable takedown of Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, whose Sunday status lingers in doubt. Silver linings for the Knicks included a return to form for Jalen Brunson, who picked up a 39-points, 13-assist double-double. Josh Hart also picked up 20 points in defeat as he, Brunson, and Donte DiVincenzo descend upon their collegiate stomping grounds from Villanova.

What: New York Knicks @ Philadelphia76ers, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 (Knicks lead series 2-1)

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

When/Watch: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ABC

Who’s Favored: PHI -5


Apr 25, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots

Keep An Eye On: Precious Achiuwa

If Robinson is out, the Knicks will turn to Achiuwa, who received his first minutes of the series on Thursday upon the longest-tenured New Yorker’s departure. Achiuwa did reasonably well in 10 minutes of action and hardly looked rusty on the defensive end (notably posting a couple of strong defensive possessions on Embiid toward the end of the first half). When lasting injuries to Robinson and Julius Randle ate away at the Knicks’ regular season, Achiuwa came up big on several major occasions. Of note, the Knicks were a perfect 11-0 this season when Achiuwa played at least 20 minutes and posted a plus/minus of at least 10 in the black.

Sixer to Watch: Kelly Oubure Jr.

The Knicks can survive an onslaught from Embiid and Tyrese Maxey: the duo, for example, united for 69 of 101 points in Game 2 on Monday and New York prevailed with a little help from DiVincenzo. An offensive breakout from Oubre, who’s likewise doing little, if anything, to improve his reputation among New Yorkers, partly paved the way to a Philadelphia victory, as his 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting (which also included seven rebounds) served as a bit of an edge and kept a metropolitan comeback at bay. Basketball, in better and worse, remains a team sport despite the star-drive nature of the Association. The Knicks have built their own success with diverse scoring and Philadelphia would perhaps be wise to copy their example if it wants to extend its season.

They Said It

“Ball went in the hole. I was able to make plays, not just for myself, but for others. But for all that being good, we lost, so it doesn’t really matter. (It’s about) being together and reading each other on both offense and defense and just being a step quicker to everything, but most importantly sticking together.”-Jalen Brunson on his resurgence in Game 3 (h/t Peter Botte, New York Post)

Prediction

The Knicks have frequently been able to overcome manageable challenges in this intriguing if not grinding season. Bigger challenges will lie ahead … if they get there … but nothing’s bigger in terms of a manageable challenge than Sunday’s game. The Knicks have dominated the category of manageable must win, games where the season isn’t necessariy over with a loss but things are undoubtedly more difficult. Sunday could provide the granddaddy of them all in that category, and the Knicks have the required experience to shift things in their favor.

Knicks 114, 76ers 111

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