McBride, Mitch, & Hart Star in Game 1 BARN BURNER. Knicks 111 76ers 104

Josh Hart hit three HUGE 3’s late in the 4th quarter, Mitchell Robinson played like a man possessed inside against Joel Embiid, and Miles McBride was the Knicks’ Secret Weapon off the bench, stinging Philadelphia all night with 3-point shooting, tough drives to the hoop, and defense — as NY won a Game 1 BARN BURNER at Madison Square Garden, 111-104 on an early Saturday evening.

McBride got the Knicks back in the game after entering late in the 1st quarter, NY down 12. He led the Knick charge back, with help from Bojan Bogdanovic and Mitchell Robinson in the 2nd quarter, as NY took a 12-pt halftime lead.

But Philly’s Tyrese Maxey scorched the Knicks in the 3rd quarter, Philly coming back to take a lead. Jalen Brunson was double and tripled all night — and was off his game shooting wise.

But the Knicks prevailed in the 4th, with Defense and the heroic play of Hart, Robinson, OG Anunoby, McBride and Brunson.

“Our bench was terrific, led by Mitch,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Bogey gave us really good minutes and Deuce did as well. Those 3 guys gave us a big lift. We had to dig out of a hole to start the game. Rebounding was big. We started slowly and we started the 3rd quarter slowly, but we found a way to win.”

1. Philly Jumps Out to 12-Pt Lead

Philly came out taking it to the Knicks, with Joel Embiid rolling inside for score after score against Isaiah Hartenstein. It got Gus Johnson on the play-by-play to mention how Joel Embiid scored 70 points in a game this year.

Then Tyrese Maxey started hitting drives to the hoop and Philly went up by 13 points.

Jalen Brunson was being doubled and tripled, and was missing his shot. Philly employed a new tactic — Maxey coming from behind to block a Brunson 3 — a “chase down block.”

Kyle Lowry was being a pain in the ass too — although he picked up his 2nd foul near the end of the 1st and that was a good thing.

2. Robinson Duels Embiid

NY brought in Mitchell Robinson with 3:53 left in the 1st, and he started to bang better against Embiid.

3. McBride Gets Knicks Back in Game

Then with 1:14 left in the 1st quarter, the Knicks brought in their Secret Weapon — Deuce McBride. McBride immediately hit a 3 and NY was down by 10.

“Solid early minutes and activity by Miles McBride,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines at the time. “He’s shooting the ball with confidence, defending, hedging over screens and playing hard through every possession.”

Secret Weapon #2 also entered the game — sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic. He immediately drove to the bucket for free throws.

As the 2nd quarter began, Bogey hit a 3, then McBride hit a 3, then Bogey hit a 3 and NY was down by 2 points.

A Mitchell Robinson SLAM off an offensive rebound tied the game 40-40.

Brunson joined the scoring, Bogey continued to score and when McBride hit another 3 with 4:38 left, NY had a 45-41 lead.

4. Embiid Injury Scare

Robinson was doing a good job on Embiid — keeping him out of the paint — and owning the boards.

With 2:49 left in the half, a frustrated Embiid deked right, then spun left, threw the ball off the backboard and slammed it home — the dunk of the month.

But as he came down from the dunk his left knee hurt him and he went down. The left knee that kept him out from January until the last 2 weeks of the season after he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Play continued as OG Anunoby Dunked down the other end for a 51-46 NY lead. Meanwhile Embiid lie on the floor staring at the ceiling. Philly called time and after some time, Embiid walked off to the lockerroom.

5. NY Up 12 at the Half

The Knicks continued to roll and finished off the half well. With 1:46 left, Robinson blocked a Maxey drive and threw the ball off Maxey out of bounds.

On offense, Brunson hit free throws, McBride hit a 3, and Hartenstein hit free throws to give NY a 58-46 halftime lead.

6. Maxey Kills Knicks in 3rd Quarter

Joel Embiid came back into the game to start the 2nd half. But he wasn’t the same Embiid — he was not as aggressive inside — he seemed to be nervous about his knee.

But he set picks that Tyrese Maxey danced around super fast to the hole, killing the Knicks repeatedly.

After a Jalen Brunson deuce early in the 3rd quarter that put NY up 14, Philly and Maxey started to slice at the Knick lead.

Maxey scored 13 points in the period, and blocked another Jalen Brunson shot from behind — a “chase down block”. Throw in a 3 from “pain in the ass” Kyle Lowry and Philly came back to take an 78-72 lead with 3 minutes left and had all momentum.

In the last 3 minutes however, NY began to temper Philly’s momentum. Brunson, Bogdanovic, and Hart made scores to counter Maxey drives. Philly up 82-79 entering the 4th.

7. Robinson Man On Fire in 4th

And then came the 4th. PRESSURE COOKER.

Bogey hit a 3 to start the period and tie the game.

Then Mitchell Robinson BLOCKED a Paul Reed 3-pt jumper from the right corner. On the next play Robinson put back in an offensive rebound and NY was up 84-82!

Robinson OWNED the boards in the 4th quarter — on the offensive and defensive end. He finished with 13 rebounds — helping NY to a 56-33 rebounding advantage over Philly.

Tobias Harris tied it with a score, but Miles McBride made a TOUGH drive to put NY back up.

A McBride 3 a minute later countered another Tobias score and NY was up 5 at 91-86.

8. Hart HUGE 3’s in 4th

But Embiid got the line for free throws, and Maxey made another drive and Philly pulled to within 91-90 with 5:32 left.

That’s when Josh Hart hit the 1st of 3 HUGE 3’s down the stretch. NY up 4.

Heavyweight Fight Down the Stretch

  • After Embiid free throws, Mitchell Robinson put back his own missed shot inside for a 96-92 Knick lead.
  • A Brunson pullup put NY up 98-92 with 3:31 left.
  • Mitchell Robinson RIPPED down an offensive rebound from Embiid — forcing a jump ball as the two sprawled to the floor. Reminiscent of Charles Oakley vs Charles Barkley back in the day.

  • Maxey hit a 3 to make it 98-95 — Josh Hart answered with a HUGE 3 and NY was up 101-95 with 1:55 left as MSG ERUPTED!

  • Embiid made free throws but OG Anunoby hit a HUGE 3 and NY was up 104-97 with 1:28 left! Philly timeout.
  • Kyle Lowry entered the game after the timeout and immediately hit a 3 — but Josh Hart countered with ANOTHER 3. NY 107-100 with 1 minute left.

  • Maxey hit Another drive, then Philly fouled Mitchell Robinson intentionally — who had to come to the rescue on an inbounds play to receive the ball.
  • Mitch stepped up to the free throw line and … MADE BOTH FREE THROWS.

Maxey hit Another drive to pull Philly within 5 with 30 seconds left but the Knicks worked the clock and Anunoby took a jumper with 4 seconds left that missed — but Josh Hart snuck in for the offensive rebound for the old ballgame. A fitting ending.

“Josh Hart puts himself in the right position to make winning plays not finds himself and it’s no accident,” summed up NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “His will to outwork you on the glass, wants every 50/50 ball more than you, defends and hits big shots as he doesn’t fear the moment. His effort puts him in position to succeed.”

Afterwards, Josh Hart said NY knew Philly would leave him open to take shots as they double teamed Brunson, so he spent the week taking 3’s.

The Boxscore


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