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New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers Final Score: The Knicks hold off the Sixers 97-92, take 3-1 series lead

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The physical I-95 match-up between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers continued to live up to the hype in Game 4. The 76ers had a few moments where they looked like they were going to pull away and tie this thing up, but New York answered every Sixers run with vicious fight. Jalen Brunson dominated from the start and etched his name into New York Knick franchise history with a defining performance that now has Philadelphia on the brink of elimination despite the efforts of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

Observations

  • Jalen Brunson got called for a foul in the 1st quarter on Kyle Lowry while he was laying on the ground, a 3-point shooting foul at that. Brunson fell chasing Lowry over a screen and was called for the foul after Lowry went into his shot and stepped on the Knicks guard’s chest. The 38 year old Lowry remains one of the league’s preeminent pests. The wily vet drew two more big fouls late, one coming during a crucial Philadelphia inbound that gave the 76ers one shot and possession in a 5-point game with less than a minute to go.
  • New York Knicks players not named Jalen Brunson came out of the gate slow in the 1st quarter. Brunson had 12 of New York’s 17 points in the frame and 23 in the first half on 10/15 shooting and the Knicks needed every single one of them. Brunson continuing his improved shooting from a big Game 3 after shooting just 29% from the floor in the two games at Madison Square Garden.
  • Brunson continued his onslaught in the 2nd half, going off for 15 in the 3rd quarter. He left the game before the start of the 4th quarter with a bit of a limp, requiring attention in the locker room, but made his way back into the game at the 10 minute mark. He finished with a Knicks franchise record 47 points, the last two sealing the win for New York at the free throw line. He also became the first Knick to ever have a 40 point, 10 assist game in franchise history.

  • Joel Embiid, whom it was recently announced is dealing with Bell’s Palsy, was less sharp than he was in the last game in which he put up 50. Embiid paced Philadelphia with 10 in the first quarter, but had just 4 in the 2nd. The 3rd quarter saw him really work his match-up with Isaiah Hartenstein and get to the line a handful of times on his way to 12 points in the period, but he had just 1 point in the 4th in a game the Sixers lost by just 5. Embiid played the entire 2nd half, a decision that may weigh on Nick Nurse’s mind going forward.
  • Embiid shot 14 free throws in this one compared to 21 in Game 3.
  • Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo combined for 1 point in the first half, yet somehow the Knicks only trailed by 2 at the break thanks to Brunson’s first half heroics. Both still found ways to contribute, with DiVincenzo hitting some big shots in the 3rd quarter (8 points in the quarter) while Hart had a playoff career high in rebounds (17) and came up with huge defensive plays all throughout the 4th quarter, playing with 5 fouls for the bulk of it no less.
  • With both of those guys struggling with their shots for much of the game, OG Annunoby stepped up with 16 huge points that took some of the burden off Brunson among the starters as New York fought to hold on to the rope. He also teamed up with Hart in leading the Knicks on the glass by pulling down 14 rebounds, many of them contested.
  • Tobias Harris had 8 points early in the 2nd quarter, but finished with just 10 for the game. It’s been a very rough series for Harris, who has heard boos from the home crowd in Philly more than once over these last two games.
  • The 76ers are so lucky to have hit on Tyrese Maxey. The 2023-2024 Most Improved Player is lightning quick and terrifically athletic, but his jumper is just as deadly. The amount of pressure he puts on a defense is a special quality. He did struggle with his shot in this one, going just 8/21 for 23 points in the game though, the worst miss coming off a wide open 3 with the 76ers down 1 late in the 4th.
  • The Knicks won the bench match-up 14-6 thanks to 13 huge points from Miles “Deuce” McBride. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau opted to have McBride in to close the game over DiVincenzo.
  • Tons of Knicks’ fans were in the Philly crowd once again today, and more than once a, “Let’s go Knicks!” chant was audible on the ESPN broadcast. They were even able to overwhelm 76er fans for numerous Philly players were at the free throw line, including Embiid. Among the faithful to make the trip down I-95 were former Knick John Starks.
  • Teams who go up 3-1 are 268-13 all-time in the NBA history, 78-3 in the first round.

The Knicks have a chance to close out the series Tuesday night in front of their home crowd. Tip-off is at 6:00 PM CT on TNT. A victory would give them some down-time as they await the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks – Indiana Pacers match-up.

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