Knicks outlast 76ers, 118-115, in wild Game 6 to advance to second round of Eastern Conference playoffs

In an instant classic and after giving up a 22-point lead, the Knicks found a way to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 118-115, in Game 6 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs to advance to the next round.

Here are the takeaways...

-Unlike the previous games in the series where New York got off to slow starts in the first quarter, the Knicks were the ones who came out firing in Game 6 as Donte DiVincenzo lit it up from long-range in front of a packed house inside Wells Fargo Center.

Starting things off on a 7-0 run, New York’s lead grew to 17-4 with just under eight minutes left in the quarter, ballooned to 28-9 two thirds of the way through the quarter and even reached as much as 33-11 which was the Knicks’ largest lead of the series.

New York was able to get out to such a big lead thanks to their offensive rebounding advantage which it has had all year and all series as well as limiting players not named Joel Embiid. In fact, Embiid scored Philly’s first nine points – a stretch that was about eight minutes long.

-Things started to turn on the Knicks following their largest lead with the 76ers going on an 11-0 run that was ended by a Josh Hart three-pointer with 33.1 seconds remaining in the quarter. Still, New York went into the second quarter with a 36-22 lead.

-It went from bad to worse in the second, though, as Philadelphia continued its scoring run. New York’s lead evaporated just as quick as it started when the Sixers took their first lead at 49-47 on a Kelly Oubre Jr. three-pointer. Buddy Hield, who had not played in the last two games due to coach’s decision, fueled the comeback by draining three after three from all over the court.

-On the other hand, the Knicks began the quarter shooting a paltry 1-for-15 from the field and looked stagnant offensively, even with Jalen Brunson on the court. After putting up 36 points in the first, New York scored just 15 in the second and was outscored by 17 points to go into halftime down by three.

The Knicks fought from behind all throughout the third quarter and were even down by 10 at one point but somehow clawed their way back to tie the game before the end of the frame thanks to OG Anunoby’s three-pointer with 21.1 seconds left.

The comeback was really an all-out team effort with Brunson scoring 11, Hart putting up seven, Anunoby and DiVincenzo each adding five and Isaiah Hartenstein scoring four. Head coach Tom Thibodeau, already short-handed, also decided to go with a six-man rotation with only Mitchell Robinson appearing off the bench.

-Each team traded blows in the fourth quarter and what started out as a game of runs ended up becoming a good old fashioned street fight down to the very end.

The Knicks went up by as much as eight with just over three minutes remaining, but the 76ers would not go away (yet again), getting it back to within one on multiple occasions and even tying it at 111-111 on Tyrese Maxey’s three-point play. After his career performance in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, Maxey struggled on Thursday night and had just 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the floor (1-for-6 from three).

With the game tied and under a minute left, Hart drilled a huge three to give New York the lead once again, and this time for good. The game came down to free throws and the Knicks went 4-for-4 down the stretch to not allow Philadelphia a chance to win it.

-The Sixers’ bench outscored New York’s 42-5 as every Knicks starter had double-digit points.

-Embiid finished with 39 points but scored just six points points in the fourth quarter.

Game MVP: Jalen Brunson

-The Knicks won due to the strength of Brunson who dropped a game-high 41 points while also dishing out 12 assists. After a shaky start to the series, Brunson played like the All-Star that he is and took control when his team needed him the most.


What's next

The Knicks will host the Indiana Pacers for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.