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Knicks-Sixers: 5 takeaways from dramatic, series-clinching Game 6



Jalen Brunson transition 3-pointer

Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson come up clutch within the Knicks’ Sport 6 closeout win in opposition to the 76ers.

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers had been leaving Josh Hart open behind the 3-point line all sequence. It’s not that they have been glad to depart any person alone past the arc. However you possibly can’t guard all the things on this league, and that was poison they picked of their first-round sequence in opposition to the New York Knicks.

And it was the poison that finally killed the Sixers’ season.

With the sport tied and Philly scrambling to maintain Jalen Brunson contained on the left aspect of the ground, Hart was open on the high of the arc. Tyrese Maxey stunted towards Hart however selected to retreat to Donte DiVincenzo on the suitable wing.

“My first intuition was, in the event that they rotate, make the go to [DiVincenzo],” Hart stated afterward. “Clearly, the sport plan was to not rotate to me.

“I used to be in a position to get my toes set and shoot an uncontested, open shot.”

His 3-pointer swished via the online with 24.4 seconds left, giving the Knicks the lead and, finally, a 118-115 victory in Sport 6 that takes them into an Jap Convention semifinals sequence in opposition to the Indiana Pacers that begins Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT) at Madison Sq. Backyard.

Listed here are some notes, quotes, numbers and movie because the Knicks superior to the convention semis for the second straight yr …

1. The up-15 Knicks are nonetheless undefeated

After scoring a tremendous 33 factors on their first 16 possessions, the Knicks led Sport 6 by 22. Earlier than Thursday, they have been the league’s solely undefeated crew in video games they led by 15 factors or extra.

However that 22-point lead shortly started to soften away. The Sixers went on an 11-0 run late within the first quarter earlier than Hart ended the Knicks’ drought with a transition 3-pointer. Then Philly, frequently working via Joel Embiid within the submit, outscored New York by 17 factors (32-15) within the second to take a three-point halftime lead.

However the Knicks responded, scoring a tremendous 67 factors on 45 second-half possessions (1.49 per) to win the sport.

So, whereas they blew a 22-point lead, they continue to be undefeated (38-0) when main by at the very least 15 factors.

Greatest information when main by at the very least 15 factors, 2023-24

Workforce W L PCT
New York 37 0 1.000
Oklahoma Metropolis 43 1 0.977
L.A. Lakers 29 1 0.967
Indiana 36 2 0.947
Utah 18 1 0.947

Contains common season, Play-In and playoffs

The Sixers, in the meantime, completed the season 0-18 in video games they trailed by at the very least 20. Comebacks are slightly extra widespread now than they have been 10 years in the past, however they’re nonetheless not straightforward.

2. Knicks win the vitality battle

They’re particularly not straightforward in opposition to a crew that may play with as a lot fourth-quarter vitality because the Knicks.

With Bojan Bogdanovic struggling a season-ending foot damage in Sport 4, the Knicks used simply seven gamers within the final two video games of this sequence. DiVincenzo was the one who performed all 48 minutes on Thursday, however Hart (who performed all 53 two nights earlier), Brunson and OG Anunoby additionally barely left the ground, all logging at the very least 43 1/2 minutes.

But it was the Knicks who, collectively, once more had probably the most vitality down the stretch.

With each defenses stretched out to include the opposing level guards, there have been offensive rebounds available. The groups mixed for 9 offensive boards and 17 second-chance factors within the last interval.

Hart had three of these fourth-quarter offensive boards, ending with six within the sport and 22 for the sequence.

The Knicks’ vitality additionally confirmed up in transition, with their three Villanova guys combining for an enormous fast-break 3-pointer (following certainly one of Hart’s eight defensive rebounds) halfway via the interval.

The one 76er in a position to match the Knicks’ vitality was Maxey. However New York was slightly extra aggressive in its pick-and-roll protection on Thursday, doing a greater job of getting the ball out of his fingers. After scoring 46 factors in Sport 5, Maxey had simply 17 (on 6-for-18 capturing) in Sport 6.

The Knicks’ pick-and-roll protection usually left Joel Embiid open on the foul line. However Embiid wasn’t in a position to assault the rotating protection. If he did drive, he didn’t do it with a lot burst, seemingly hoping to attract a foul.

This was nonetheless the Sixers’ second most effective offensive sport of the sequence. However the Knicks simply had slightly extra down the stretch.

3. Brunson wasn’t environment friendly, however he received the job carried out

By means of Thursday, 13 gamers (three on this sequence) have averaged at the very least 25 factors within the playoffs. And among the many 13, Brunson has had the bottom true capturing share (52.5%), which means he’s been the least environment friendly of these high-volume scorers.

However there’s little doubt the Knicks wanted all the things their level guard may give them. Solely Embiid has a better utilization fee in these playoffs than Brunson, who has accounted for 37% of the Knicks’ factors and 43% of their assists whereas on the ground.

The eye paid to Brunson created a number of the Knicks’ pictures, whether or not he assisted on them or not. And he had a few powerful buckets of his personal down the stretch in Sport 6.

Halfway via the fourth, he picked up his dribble with simply seven seconds left on the shot clock. He virtually received caught within the air however received the ball to Isaiah Hartenstein. Earlier than he hit the bottom, he was chasing his personal go and gaining a step on his defender as he received the ball again.

When the Sixers seemingly had him trapped, Brunson discovered house to launch a leaning 15-footer that rattled in and put the Knicks up 5 …

Jalen Brunson jump shot

Within the last two minutes, the Sixers double-teamed Brunson firstly of each possession. However after Oubre was known as for a foul making an attempt to disclaim him the ball, Philly did not ship one other double-team on the following inbounds play. Brunson drove previous Oubre, slammed on the brakes, drew contact, and received a floater to fall …

Jalen Brunson floater

Brunson averaged 35.5 factors over the sequence, the seventh most for any participant in a sequence of at the very least six video games within the final 25 years.

4. Even a less-than-100-percent Embiid makes a giant distinction

Embiid bounced again from a tough Sport 5 to attain 39 factors in Sport 6, capturing 12-for-25 from the sphere and 13-for-13 from the road.

Massive image, it was one other postseason through which the reigning Kia MVP was not at his greatest, both coping with an damage or getting back from one. Embiid was not in nice form on this sequence, having lately returned from an prolonged absence. He seemingly re-aggravated his knee damage in Sport 1, was coping with a case of Bell’s Palsy and was listed as questionable earlier than Sport 5 with a migraine.

However any Embiid is best than no Embiid. On this sequence, the Sixers outscored the Knicks by 46 factors (9.3 per 100 possessions) in his 248 minutes on the ground, they usually have been outscored by 47 (52.4 per 100 possessions) in his 45 minutes on the bench.

It was paying homage to the 2019 Jap Convention semifinals, when the Sixers have been outscored by 109 factors in Embiid’s 99 minutes off the ground, shedding on the buzzer in Sport 7.

For the season, Philly was 34-12 (.730) when Embiid performed and 16-27 (.372) when he didn’t. He wasn’t eligible for a second straight Kia MVP award, however he nonetheless will be the most beneficial participant within the league.

5. Sixers head into the summer season with a largely clean slate

Philly is amongst 4 groups to win over 60% of their video games over the past seven common seasons. The opposite three — the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets — have all been to the Finals in that stretch, and two of them received championships.

The Sixers (347-208, .625) haven’t reached the convention finals since 2001. They now head into one other offseason that might change the franchise dramatically.

It’s been a wild trip because the begin of “The Course of,” with extremely paid gamers like Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, J.J. Redick and Tobias Harris biking out and in round Embiid.

Of the 16 gamers on the Sixers’ present roster, solely Embiid has a assured contract for subsequent season. Everybody else is both a free agent, a possible free agent (Philly has a crew choice on little-used guard Jeff Dowtin), or has a non-guaranteed contract for 2024-25.

Precedence No. 1, after all, is re-signing Maxey (a restricted free agent). After that, crew president Daryl Morey is working with a really clean slate, although the listing of accessible, star-level free brokers is proscribed.

One of many highest-paid gamers who shall be a free agent is the Sixers’ personal Harris, who averaged simply 9 factors per sport on this sequence. Given his underwhelming efficiency this season, his return doesn’t appear seemingly, however it is going to be fascinating to see the phrases of Harris’ subsequent contract — wherever he lands.

The Sixers do have some additional picks in future Drafts, so they might additionally discover the commerce market. It doesn’t matter what, with Embiid now 30 years outdated, it is going to be a important offseason for one of many league’s marquee franchises.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for You may e-mail him right here, discover his archive right here and follow him on X. 

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