Brunson’s 47 Points & Knick DEFENSE Stifle 76ers & Embiid. NY 97 Philadelphia 92

Jalen Brunson with a Knick record 47 points in a playoff game. Photo courtesy NY Knicks.

Jalen Brunson scored in every conceivable way for 47 clutch points, and the Knicks laid down a TOUGH DEFENSE in the 4th quarter, with OG Anunoby and double teams limiting Joel Embiid to 1 point — giving NY a frenetic 97-92 win and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 playoff series.

On a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, the Wells Fargo Center taken over by loud Knick fans.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said after the previous game, when Embiid killed the Knicks in the 3rd quarter, that they needed to “fix it” — and he did. And that included in-game adjustments, after Isaiah Hartenstein — who had 0 fouls in the 1st half — picked up 5 fouls in the 3rd quarter. Precious Achiuwa came off the Knick bench to play spectacular defensive ball in the 4th, blocking 4 shots and grabbing 7 important rebounds, and Anunoby did a heroic job guarding Embiid, with a double team of Miles McBride coming over when Embiid put the ball on the floor.

Josh Hart also played a tremendous defensive game, with a key blocked shot in the 4th, and 17 rebounds.

“A lot of fight. We got down early; just kept battling,” said Thibodeau afterwards. “A number of guys just stepped up like they’ve done all year. The defense was really good; the rebounding was really good. A lot of hustle in the game. Josh was unbelievable. OG gave us great minutes. You can’t say enough about what Jalen did. And then Precious came in and gave us great minutes as did Deuce. And Donte had a good stretch. We need everyone just hustling like crazy. And if we do that good things will come.”

“They’re a very dynamic team,” added Thibs. “They put a lot of pressure on you. They have a number of guys who can go off the dribble. And when you factor in what Maxey does and what Embiid does, that’s a lot of firepower. You got to be tied together with your whole team, because once you send the 2nd guy you also have to make the rotation and you have to finish; you have to challenge the shot. And then they’re very athletic going after the ball too. So the challenge we know is that we have to play for 48 minutes against them.”

1. Philly Jumps Out to 12-Point Lead

Mitchell Robinson was on the court an hour before game time to try out his ankle — which sent good vibes throughout Knick Twitter, but 30 minutes before game time it was announced he would not be playing.

And it wasn’t looking good for NY early, as they kept missing 3’s in the 1st quarter while Philly was hitting their shot and jumped out to a 12-point lead.

Tobias Harris was scoring inside and outside, Kelly Oubre Jr. hit a 3, Tyrese Maxey hit a 3, and Joel Embiid was hitting jumpers. A Tobias Harris alley-oop layup on a pass from Embiid put Philly up 27-15 with a minute left in the 1st quarter, before a Jalen Brunson score inside pulled NY back to 10 down entering the 2nd.

2. Bogey Injured Early in 2nd Quarter

More bad news for the Knicks — Bojan Bogdanovic entered the game to start the 2nd quarter, but immediately had the ball knocked away from him by Nicolas Batum, and in the scramble for the loose ball, Batum fell on Bogdanovic’s ankle, badly spraining it. Bogey and his sharp shooting was gone before it even began.

3. Knicks Pull Back to Within 2 at the Half

But the Knicks adjusted again. Unable to hit the 3, the Knicks went inside to Isaiah Hartenstein, who scored floaters inside off Jalen Brunson assists on consecutive possessions to pull NY within 6.

OG Anunoby joined in — making a strong drive to the bucket, and then Brunson made a spectacular drive and floater off a hesitation shimmy move and NY was back within 4.

“Jalen Brunson staying in attack mode, dictates where he wants to get which is in the lane and then hits his floater,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Put your defender at your mercy and keep them on their heels.”

OG made another strong move to the bucket and NY was within 29-27.

A Brunson drive tied the score.

Philly struck back — Tyrese Maxey hit a couple of 3’s, and Embiid got to the line and Philly was back up 5 — but Miles McBride hit consecutive 3’s to put NY up a point at 46-45.

Tyrese Maxey countered and pain-in-the-ass Kyle Lowry hit a 3 to put Philly up 4, but Brunson finished the half with a drive and it was a 2-pt game — Philly up 49-47.

4. Philly Goes Up by 10 Early in 3rd But NY Battles Back

Hartenstein and Anunoby scored for the Knicks early in the 4th, but Tyrese Maxey led a 10-0 Philly run that put them up 61-51 — an Embiid score, a Maxey drive-and-1, an Oubre 3, and another Maxey drive.

Jalen Brunson fought back — scoring on floaters and drives — and then Donte DiVincenzo hit Huge back-to-back 3’s late in the quarter — the first pulling NY from 7 down to 70-66, and the second pulling NY to within 70-69.

  • Embiid hit a 3.
  • Brunson countered with a 3. Philly 73 NY 72 with 1:32 left in the 3rd.

It was a playoff basketball barnburner on a Sunday afternoon.

Embiid Draws 5th Foul on Hartenstein; Precious Enters

Embiid kept drawing fouls on Isaiah Hartenstein — getting the ball and making quick moves to the hoop to draw the foul. Hartenstein drew his 5th foul — all in the 3rd quarter! — and was replaced by Precious Achiuwa with 1:25 left in the 3rd.

  • Embiid made a free throw but DiVincenzo countered with a drive and it was a tie game, 74 all.

The Knicks put OG Anunoby on Embiid, and Precious guarded OG’s man. Embiid immediately drew a foul on OG and made more free throws.

  • But Brunson countered with a floater-and-1 and NY had a 77-76 lead entering the 4th.

5. Frenetic 4th with Precious, OG, McBride, Hart & Brunson

Cameron Payne hit 2 buckets early in the 4th to put Philly up, but McBride countered with a 3 off a Precious Achiuwa offensive rebound, and OG made a drive and NY was back up.

Josh Hart then blocked a dunk by Nicholas Batum inside — as John Starks cheered him on from courtside seats.

This was a war.

Brunson hit a drive, then OG dunked off ANOTHER Precious Achiuwa offensive rebound and NY was up 86-81 with 8 minutes left.

The Knicks tried to put it away but missed shots — and Maxey, Oubre, and Maxey again hit drives to pull Philly back within 88-87 with 6 minutes left.

  • Brunson countered with a drive; Oubre countered with a dunk — NY 90-89 with 4:30 left.
  • Brunson lost the ball, but Precious Achiuwa BLOCKED Oubre’s inside shot that would have given Philly the lead!
  • Hart missed a drive but grabbed the offensive rebound — and hit McBride at top of the key who was fouled taking a 3; he missed the first free throw but hit the next 2 and NY was up 92-89 with 3:47 left.

OG and Knicks Stifle Embiid

NY stifled Embiid all 4th quarter, with OG defending him away from the basket, and NY sending double teams when Embiid put the ball on the floor.

  • With NY up 3 and 3:40 left, OG with McBride coming over, stifled Embiid, who missed badly on a 2-pt jumper.

“OG Anunoby plays with a purpose on both ends, needs no plays called for him and he takes pride in his defense and getting stops,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Also, was aggressive on the offensive end and the glass while taking no play for granted. OG knows his role and needs no plays called for him to be engaged.”

Knicks Owned the Inside

  • Next play down, Precious Achiuwa BLOCKED Embiid’s 3-pt attempt forcing a 24-second violation as he swatted the ball out of bounds!
  • With 2:43 left, Brunson missed a 3, but Hart got the offensive rebound — Hart missed a 3, but OG got the offensive rebound — Brunson missed a 20 footer, but Precious got the offensive rebound — McBride missed a corner 3 and Philly finally got the ball with 2:15 left.

NY’s defense was intense — Philly was discombobulated on offense — they could only pass the ball around the perimeter and hoist up a bad shot — Maxey missed a 20-footer and it was NY’s ball with 1:50 left.

  • Brunson drove and was fouled — hit a free throw for a 4-pt Knick lead — as 45 percent of the Wells Fargo arena was chanting “MVP, MVP, MVP”.
  • Oubre missed a 3, Lowry got the long offensive rebound, and passed to Harris who missed a 3.

Then Brunson operated into the lane and surprised Philly by taking it right to the rack for a 95-89 lead with 55 seconds left as Knick fandom exploded watching on TV’s and streams throughout the Northeast. Not to mention 45 percent of Wells Fargo Arena.

  • Embiid drew a foul on OG, but missed the first free throw. Embiid seemed exhausted — coach Nick Nurse had kept him in the entirety of the 3rd and 4th quarter.
  • With 27 seconds left and NY up 95-90, Hart lost the ball, but Brunson blocked Maxey’s drive — the ball going out of bounds, Philly ball. It looked like the ball went off Maxey and the Knicks challenged the play but the refs ruled Philly ball.
  • But as Philly was inbounding, Kyle Lowry set a moving pick on Anunoby — causing Anunoby to run into him — incredibly Anunoby was charged for an off-the-play foul on an inbounds which gave Philly a free throw and the ball back. Maxey hit the free throw to make it a 95-91 game.

But Knicks had Karma and Precious Achiuwa.

  • Embiid got the ball on the left baseline, faked a shot then drove underneath, but instead of dunking tried to lay it up and Precious BLOCKED it. Hart got the rebound and was fouled and that seemed like ballgame.
  • But Hart missed both free throws! Kyle Lowry came down and badly missed on a 3 with 9 seconds left — but got his own rebound and was fouled.

Lowry hit the 1st free throw to make it a 95-92 game with 7 seconds left — and purposely missed the 2nd free throw. Tyrese Maxey didn’t know Lowry’s plan was to purposely miss and was out of position as Brunson grabbed the rebound that bounced out past the free throw line. And THAT was ballgame, as Brunson was fouled on purpose and hit his free throws.

6. Knick Fans Take Over Philly

The story after the game was how Knick fans invaded and owned Wells Fargo Arena.

The Boxscore


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