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Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks, NBA Playoffs 04/28/2024

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The 76ers (1-2) have a chance to get even Sunday in their first round matchup with the New York Knicks (2-1), in a matinee matchup in South Philadelphia.

After New York took care of their home court in Games 1 and 2, the Sixers returned the favor in Thursday’s Game 3 – a 125-114 Philadelphia victory.

Joel Embiid delivered a historic performance in the win, scoring a playoff career-high 50 points on just 19 shots (13-19 FG, 5-7 3FG, 19-21 FT).

Embiid, recovering from injury and playing through illness, discussed his will to overcome adversity postgame.

“I just love playing the game – I want to be on the floor as much as possible,” Embiid said. “I’m not a quitter. I’m going to keep fighting through anything.”

Tyrese Maxey shone once again, finishing with 25 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.

Nick Nurse commended his star duo’s growth and cooperation Friday:

“I know they’re a good tandem. They’re both really great people. They both care a lot. They’re both superstars. They’re in that boat together.”

Embiid and Maxey are the highest-scoring duo in these playoffs thus far, with Embiid leading the NBA in playoff scoring (37.7 ppg), and Maxey the fourth-highest playoff scorer (31.0 ppg).

Leading the bench unit in Game 3 was Cam Payne, who was called upon after playing just three minutes in the series prior to Game 3. He scored 11 points in his 16 minutes.

“He’s just so positive,” Maxey said of Payne’s performance. “Everybody says I’m positive, but he’s extremely positive. He’s jumping around and having a great time. And he’s always vocal on the bench. We appreciate him for being who he was tonight.”

Following Sunday’s matchup, the series will shift back to New York City, where the Sixers and Knicks will meet Tuesday for Game 5.

Jalen Brunson led the way for New York in Game 3, notching a 39-point, 13-assist double-double. Brunson shot 13-for-27 from the field, 3-for-7 from deep, and 10-for-12 from the foul line.

Josh Hart continues to excel in the series, recording 20 points (including 4-for-8 shooting from long range), six rebounds, and six assists. Hart is shooting 52.2% from 3-point territory in the series.

Brunson leads the Knicks in scoring (28.3 ppg) and sharing (8.7 apg) in the playoffs thus far, while Hart leads New York in rebounding (11.3 rpg) and steals (1.3 spg).

76ERS-KNICKS INJURY REPORT

De’Anthony Melton (spine) returned to the active roster for the first time in the playoffs for Game 3. He is not on the injury report for Game 4.

Embiid (left knee injury recovery) is questionable and Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) is out for Philadelphia. 

For New York, Mitchell Robinson (left ankle sprain) is questionable, while Julius Randle (right shoulder surgery) is out. 

THURSDAY’S TOP PERFORMANCES

  • Embiid’s playoff career-high 50-piece was accompanied by eight rebounds, four assists, and a block. The reigning MVP shot 13-for-19 from the field, 5-for-7 from long range, and 19-for-21 from the foul line. He finished at a game-high +16.
  • Maxey tallied 25 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in his 41 minutes of play.
  • Oubre notched his own playoff career-high in scoring, a 15-point performance on efficient 6-for-8 shooting overall (2-for-4 from deep), plus seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
  • In his heaviest playoff minutes this season thus far (16 mins), Payne scored a bench-high 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting and 3-for-4 3-point shooting, plus three assists and two blocks.

Payne on bringing energy as a bench player:

“Energy costs nothing. I was pumping the crowd up tonight. As humans, we feed off energy. We feed off confidence. Bench guys – that’s our job… I love having fun.”

Sunday’s matinee Game 4 is a 1 p.m. EDT tip in South Philadelphia.

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