The Knicks Took Game 1 From The Sixers Behind A Dominant Performance On The Glass

There were high hopes that the first round series between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers would be spectacular, and through one game, it’s managed to deliver. New York hosted Philly on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, and were able to pick up a 111-104 win behind a balanced offensive effort and an absolutely dominant performance on the glass.

Much like they were able to do last year against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks’ physicality gave them a leg up and earned them extra possession after extra possession. They outrebounded the Sixers, 55-33, and managed to secure 23 offensive boards — Mitchell Robinson led the way with seven, while Isaiah Hartenstein and Jalen Brunson both had five and Josh Hart had four. As such, New York had a 26-8 edge in second-chance points.

That, mixed with the fact that their bench steamrolled Philly — New York’s bench trio of Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Deuce McBride outscored them, 42-7 — helped the Knicks overcome a less-than-stellar game from Jalen Brunson, who had 22 points on 8-for-26 shooting with seven rebounds, seven assists, and five turnovers. It also helped that Josh Hart caught fire in the fourth quarter, knocking down a trio of triples that helped ignite the Garden and keep the Sixers at arm’s length. In all, Hart had 22 points and 13 rebounds while knocking down four of his eight threes.

Philly was able to get big games out of both of its All-Stars. Despite hurting his knee on the highlight of the game and going to the locker room in the first quarter, Embiid went for 29 points on 8-for-22 shooting with eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals in 37 minutes of work. Tyrese Maxey, meanwhile, led all scorers with 33 points.

But the Sixers’ long-standing achilles heel reared its ugly head again. For years, the team has struggled when Embiid heads to the bench or the locker room during the postseason, and once again, that happened. The team outscored New York by 14 points in the 37 minutes he played, but in the 11 minutes that were given to backup big man Paul Reed — who has been pretty reliable for them this season — Philadelphia was outscored by 21 points. That, along with the team’s struggles on the glass, will assuredly be two of the main things Nick Nurse will have to address.

Game 2 between New York and Philadelphia will take place at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. It’s slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. EST on TNT.