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Sixers Notebook: Knicks fans get under Joel Embiid’s skin in a New York minute



PHILADELPHIA — The day began with a laugh, Sixers public address announcer Matt Cord appealing humorously to the primal instincts of Philly and New York fans jamming the Wells Fargo Center for Game 4 of the first-round playoff series between the Sixers and Knicks.

The building rocked with booing when Cord opined that there was one thing fans from both cities could agree on, then introduced Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys. Touche.

It was all downhill there for the Sixers as the hefty contingent of Knicks nearly took over the Center at critical stages of the game, which infuriated Joel Embiid. By the way, the Sixers were beaten, 97-92, and are behind 3-1 in the best-of-7 series that resumes Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, which will be even less forgiving.

“Disappointing,” Embiid said. “I love our fans. It’s unfortunate. I’m not calling them out, but it is disappointing. Obviously, you’ve got a lot of Knicks fans down the road. And I’ve never seen it (like this) and I’ve been here for 10 years.”

Nick Nurse blew off the mere suggestion the Sixers had lost a portion of their homecourt advantage.

“I don’t put much stock in that,” Nurse said. “I think we can win here, win there, or win anywhere. We’ve just got to play better.”

Tyrese Maxey, on the other hand, noticed the New York noise yet praised Sixers fans for fighting through it.

“I mean, we know that’s coming, honestly,” Maxey said. “But our crowd is great. We appreciate them every single time. I feel like it was the same crowd as last time we played, so I mean, our crowd did a great job. We appreciate them. It’s a very, very close (distance for) the two organizations. They’re right up the street from us. It is what it is. You’ve just got to go out there and beat that.”

Embiid wants more … more fans, more passion, and hopefully more wins.

“Yeah, yeah, it kind of pisses me off especially because Philly is considered a sports town,” Embiid said. “They’ve always shown up and I don’t think that should happen.”

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Sixers forward Tobias Harris got off to a great start with eight points in the first 11 minutes. The much-maligned forward was averaging just 8.3 points in the series.

Harris’ power drive to the basket gave the Sixers a crowd-quieting 61-51 advantage in the third quarter. But that was it as he finished with 10 points, making just 4 of 10 from the field.

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At the end of the first half with players leaving the floor Kelly Oubre took a step toward Josh Hart, who collected his third foul bumping the Sixer a long way from the basket.

After that foul call, Oubre made the T for technical gesture to the official, to no avail. Hart didn’t appreciate it.

Oubre was fortunate others intervened. He may not know it, but he doesn’t want any part of Hart.

Hart was 0-for-7 from the field, missing three 3-point attempts to finish with just four points. Yet he finished with a game-high 17 rebounds as well as five personal fouls.

Oubre had 19 points, three rebounds, two assists and five fouls.

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NOTES >> Nurse gave guard De’Anthony Melton seven minutes of playing time. Melton didn’t score and was minus-1 on the day … Knicks three-point shooter Bojan Bogdanovic hurt his left foot in the first half and didn’t return … The Knicks again played without backup center Mitchell Robinson (ankle) … South Carolina women’s basketball champion coach Dawn Staley, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Parsons and Texans quarterback CJ Stroud all attended the game.

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