Officials didn’t help, but Sixers played into their own demise in Game 2

NEW YORK — The Philadelphia 76ers had it. They had Game 2 against the New York Knicks in their grasp. Tyrese Maxey hit a triple with 1:09 left to put Philadelphia up four, the Sixers then got a stop, and Kyle Lowry made a free-throw to put Philadelphia up five with 47.3 seconds to go.

Then, chaos. Jalen Brunson made a side-step triple that hit the front of the rim and bounced into the air before dropping to pull New York to within 101-99. The Sixers then had trouble getting the ball in. Nick Nurse claimed he called timeout and the officials didn’t grant him one. It also appeared Maxey was fouled by Brunson on the inbounds pass. He didn’t get a call.

Maxey then lost the ball in the corner. New York’s Josh Hart then picked it up and found Donte DiVincenzo wide-open on the wing. He missed the 3-point attempt, but Isaiah Hartenstein grabbed the offensive rebound and the ball found DiVincenzo for a triple to give the Knicks a 102-101 lead with 13.0 seconds left on their way to a 104-101 win.

Two separate things can be true:

  • The officials messed up and didn’t help the situation. Philadelphia has every right to file that grievance with the league.

  • If the Sixers had just grabbed a rebound off the DiVincenzo miss, they would have won the game and rendered everything else pointless.

Afterward, Joel Embiid ripped the officials and guaranteed the Sixers would win this series against the Knicks. The sentiment is great. Philadelphia should want its leader to speak like this. However, the Sixers played into their own demise.

A big factor in this one was once again rebounding. Philadelphia did a great job of rebounding overall compared to Game 1, but it came down to Hartenstein crashing in and grabbing the critical rebound. That led to the DiVincenzo go-ahead triple. If the Sixers grab that rebound, then they win the game.

The Sixers are not out of this series. At all. They’re down 0-2, but they have two huge games at home that they have to win. Philadelphia has been right there in both Games 1 and 2, but it didn’t go its way.

With that being said, the excuses and blaming the officiating have to stop. The Sixers had their chance in Game 2. Even with the chaotic possession, DiVincenzo missed that initial triple. The Sixers just needed to grab that rebound and that would have won the game.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire