Joel Embiid ‘pissed off’ after Knicks fans take over 76ers home court

PHILADELPHIA — Those aren’t boos. They’re cheers for Miles McBride, better known by his nickname “Deuce.”

And those M-V-P chants aren’t for the NBA’s reigning award winner Joel Embiid.

They’re actually for Jalen Brunson, the Knicks star drawing loud chants in enemy territory.

What was supposed to be a hostile environment at the Wells Fargo Center in Games 3 and 4 of the Knicks’ first-round playoff series against the 76ers ultimately featured some of the loudest cheers the Knicks have fielded on the road all year.

So loud, Embiid voiced his displeasure with Sixers fans at the podium after the game, a 97-92 Knicks victory.

“[It was] disappointing. I love our fans. I think it’s unfortunate, and I’m not calling them out, but it is disappointing,” he said. “Obviously you got a lot of Knicks fans, and they’re down the road, and I’ve never seen it, and I’ve been here for 10 years.

“Yeah, it kind of pisses me off, especially because Philly is considered a sports town. They’ve always shown up and I don’t think that should happen. Yeah. It’s not okay.”

Starting Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein plays for the German national basketball team and said Game 4’s environment felt like an overseas game.

“It’s probably the closest you’ll ever get to European fans,” Hartenstein said after the game. “[Knicks fans] travel. When we’re at The Garden, it’s always special, no matter if it’s the playoffs or regular season. But to have them on the road, especially in a playoff game, it’s special.”

Brunson, who played college ball a short drive away from the Wells Fargo Center at Villanova, is an Eagles fan and knows how rowdy Philadelphia sports fans can get.

“They’re very relentless, very passionate — but seeing the Knicks, hearing the Knicks here is pretty cool. It’s awesome,” he said. “It means that they’re for real. They’re for real. No matter where we are, they’re gonna be there. So I’m appreciative and a lot of situations wouldn’t be done without them.

“That s–t was crazy, and definitely the craziest fan base that I’ve ever been a part of. It definitely brings a lot of energy, especially the fans being able to travel and have such a huge representation. I think that’s very huge for us, and we were able to feed off that energy.

The Knicks lost the war in-between the lines in Game 3 when Embiid’s physical dominance turned the game in the 76ers’ favor.

The Knicks returned the favor to win Game 4 and take a 3-1 series lead back to Madison Square Garden for Game 5.

“I thought we were physical,” said starting forward Josh Hart. “I think we protected ourselves but we were physical. We matched their physicality. I think we got out-rebounded the last game. I think we out-rebounded them today. We didn’t allow ourselves to get pushed around.”

Brunson gingerly walked to the locker room at the end of the third quarter and didn’t play the beginning of the fourth but returned to the court to lead his team to victory.

He has scored 47 and 39 points in his last two games after struggling from the field offensively in Games 1 and 2.

“I don’t want to say he was forcing it, but he wasn’t himself. I think he was missing some shots he normally makes and he was like, ‘I gotta get going, I gotta do those kind of things,'” Hart said. “And fortunately for us, you know, we were able to get those two wins when he wasn’t. So now, to have him feeling good, having two big games, pass the ball well. 10 assists yesterday. If we made some shots, he probably should have like 15 [assists today.]

“So that’s the engine, that’s our engine that we gotta keep, finding him ways to get him clean looks, making sure we’re screening and doing those things.”