Josh Hart Killer 3 with 25 Seconds Left the Clincher! NY 118 Philly 115

In another frenetic, pressure-packed game in this playoff series, Josh Hart nailed a CLUTCH 3 from the top of the circle with 25 seconds remaining to break a 111-111 tie and give the Knicks the edge they needed for the win, eliminating the 76’ers in Philadelphia, 118-115.

The game became a pressure-cooker free-throw shooting contest the last 25 seconds as NY fouled Philly intentionally to deny them taking a 3, and on the other end, Philly fouled NY to prevent them from wasting out the clock. Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson hit 4 CLUTCH free throws for NY. A desperation Buddy Hield heave at the buzzer missed badly and NY had the elimination win — taking the series 4 games to 2.

DiVincenzo played all 48 minutes, doing a fantastic job defending Tyrese Maxey, who was forced into 6-18 shooting (1-6 from 3) for only 17 points, while DiVo scored 23 on 8-18 shooting (5-9 from 3).

Jalen Brunson was the Knick engine in the 4th, hitting CLUTCH 3’s and pullups in traffic — finishing with 41 points (on 13-27 shooting, 3-8 from 3) and 12 assists.

“I’d like to start off just congratulating the 76’ers on their season; their entire organization: their coaching staff, their players, ownership, management,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Every game was hard fought. It was a great series. Each game could go either way. But it was a hard-fought series. We’re fortunate, and now we have to get ready for Indiana.”

“The start of the game was important for us,” continued Thibs. “To bounce back like that. To be ready. To build a big lead.  They fought back; which, there’s going to be runs. Then we responded again. And then the 4th quarter was one big play after the next. And a lot of times it was the hustle plays. And that’s the thing I love about our team — it’s a team; they’re fighters; they don’t stay down. And that’s the biggest part of mental toughness is always having the ability to believe you can do better. Whether we win or lose, we always want to do better.”

NY now takes on Indiana in round 2.

1. NY Jumps Out to 22-Point Lead in 1st Quarter

NY was coming off the BRUTAL loss at Madison Square Garden in Game 5, where they blew a 6-pt lead with 26 seconds left — as Mitchell Robinson fouled Tyrese Maxey on a 3-pt attempt for a 4-pt play, and Josh Hart missed a crucial free throw in the closing seconds. Maxey had also lit NY up for 46 points.

Thibodeau made an adjustment to defense — sticking Donte DiVincenzo on Maxey the entire game. It worked.

Brunson came out attacking, Anunoby was hitting pullups, Hartenstein was scoring inside, Hart was moving the ball, and DiVincenzo was hitting 3’s. NY jumped out to an 11-2 lead, upped it to 24-9, and went up 33-11 with 2 minutes left in the quarter.

2. Philly Comes Back to Take 10-Pt Lead on Hield 3’s

But Philly came back. Joel Embiid was looking almost spritely. Philly intensified their Defense; Nicholas Batum hit a 3 and some free throws, Cameron Payne hit a 3, and Batum added another 3 as Philly sliced into the Knick lead to 33-22 with 38 seconds left in the 1st quarter.

Josh Hart answered with a 3 to give NY a 14-pt lead entering the 2nd quarter — but then it got ugly for NY.

Philly’s confidence started to grow and with it their defense amped up even more. NY couldn’t buy a bucket — and the 76er’s rolled.

And then Buddy Hield came off the bench to KILL the Knicks from 3.

Hield is a shooter’s shooter who has Killed the Knicks in the past; when he gets on a roll he gets on a ROLL — and he got on a roll. He hit 5 of 7 3-pt attempts in the quarter.

  • Hield hit back-to-back 3’s early in the quarter to pull Philly within 11.
  • Hield hit another 3 with 4:44 left to pull Philly within 2.
  • Hield hit back-to-back 3’s to put Philly up 47-44 with 3:19 left.
  • Hield hit another 3 with 7 seconds left in the quarter to give Philly a 54-49 lead.

Finally, in the last seconds of the half, the Knicks got the ball to Hartenstein for a dunk inside with 2 seconds left to make it 54-51 Philly heading into the 2nd half — showing NY still had fight.

3. Knicks Come Back to Take Lead Entering 4th

Philly continued to roll early in the 3rd — with Joel Embiid getting to the line multiple times, Kelly Oubre Jr hitting big buckets, and Tyrese Maxey hitting a 3 to put Philly up 10 — 71-61 with 6:54 left.

Worst of times.

But NY fought back.

DiVincenzo hit a 3 to slice the lead. Hartenstein hit a floater inside. The Knicks upped the intensity on their defense. Brunson drove and was fouled — made 2 free throws and NY was within 3.

It was a dogfight to the end of the quarter.

When Josh Hart ripped down an offensive rebound off a DiVincenzo miss, and fed OG Anunoby for a step-back 3 from the corner with 21 seconds left, NY had tied the game.

“Josh Hart only plays one way and his will to beat you on the offensive glass creates 2nd chance opportunities which leads to this OG 3 ball,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines.

4. OG & Brunson Key Knick 4th Quarter Rally

A similar play started the 4th: Josh Hart ripping down Another offensive rebound and feeding OG for a 3 from the top of the key and NY had the lead back, at 86-83.


The teams exchanged blows for the next few minutes — NY taking the lead; Philly countering: an Oubre 3 tied it; a DiVincenzo drive put NY up; a Maxey drive tied it; a Mitchell Robinson DUNK and OG drive put NY up 4; a Buddy Hield 3 and Batum offensive rebound and dunk put Philly back up a point, 93-92 with 7:54 left.

McBride 3

That’s when Miles McBride stepped up. McBride only played 9 minutes in the game with Divo playing 48 minutes guarding Maxey. But McBride was in and hit a HUGE 3 from straight away and NY was back up 95-93.

Brunson Back-to-Back 3’s

Embiid tied the score with a jumper inside but Jalen Brunson came down and hit a HUGE 3 from the left side, then next time down hit a HUGE 3 from the right side and NY had a 6-pt lead with 6:25 left.

Knicks Take Control

Maxey countered with a drive-and-1, but Brunson countered that with a floater in the lane in traffic.

Divo hit a drive and NY was up 7. Brunson made ANOTHER tough floater in the lane and NY was up 8 with 3:29 left! Philly timeout.

Out of the timeout, Embiid barreled into the lane and fell down over OG and Hartenstein — and drew a foul; his free throws pulled Philly within 6.

But OG countered with the DUNK of the game and NY was up 109-101 with 2:43 left!

5. Knicks up 8 with 2:43 to Play; Philly Comes Back

But Philly would not die! Oubre hit a 3 and Maxey came down on the break and made a circus shot falling to the ground with 2 Knicks defending heavily — and Philly was back within 3! An Oubre dunk made it 109-108 NY with 1:11 left.

6. The Final Frenetic Minute

With NY up a point, Jalen Brunson slipped past Oubre into the lane, with Oubre hovering tight behind him, then stopped and popped, made the floater and was fouled by Oubre — as Knick fans jumped for joy at tv’s across Knickland. NY 111 Philly 108 with 53 seconds left.

But Brunson missed the -and-1 free throw and Maxey came down and drove baseline — missed but was fouled with 34 seconds left. The refs examined the play and said it was goaltending on Hartenstein and it ended up being a drive-and-1 by Maxey for a tie game!

After a Thibs timeout, NY ran a play to get the ball to Hart at the top of the key. Hart, who had missed a key free throw at end of regulation to lose the prior game — got the pass from Brunson, faked a pass right, and hit the 3 in a shot heard ’round Knick universe.

“Josh Hart puts himself not finds himself in position to make winning plays, not with a 40+vertical to rebound but with effort and will, gets 50/50 balls because he wants it more, causes with activity and defends with big time pride,” summed NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Also, hits big shots as he’s fearless.”

After that it was free throws — NY intentionally fouling to not let Philly get off a 3, and Philly intentionally fouling to not let NY run out the clock. DiVincenzo and Brunson hit 4 pressure-packed free throws, and on the final play of the game, Buddy Hield got a desperation 3 off — but missed badly.

7. Donte Did a JOB on Maxey; Great Team Effort

A key to the game was the JOB that DiVincenzo did on Maxey, limiting him to 17 points on poor shooting, while scoring 23 himself on efficient shooting.

“Donte you can’t say enough about his all around play,” said coach Thibs afterwards. “Shot making; hustle; defense; and Maxey is a load to deal with; pick and rolls; transition; when he gets off the ball he doesn’t stop moving; you have to keep moving with him. I thought Donte’s effort was terrific.”

“Josh is Josh, “continued Thibs. “OG had a number of big plays. Isaiah had a tough battle inside and Mitch gave us really good minutes. And when Deuce came back in the 4th quarter he hit a big shot, made some big plays for us as well. And then Jalen you can’t say enough about. Every big shot.  They’re getting the ball out of his hands. Our guys did a good job of spacing and getting the ball back to him, and creating the right shots for him. And then his shot making and tough plays; he gets knocked down and gets back up and keeps going. Never stops.”

When asked if he thought of spelling Josh Hart in the 4th quarter when he looked gassed, Thibs chuckled “Josh is never close to coming out. It was a passing thought; I let it pass.”

The Boxscore


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