Knicks stun Sixers in controversial come-from-behind win 

WIth Brunson struggling and Embiid and Maxey clicking, the Knicks and their gritty cast of role players have managed to jump out to a 2-0 series lead over the 76ers.
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Two
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Jalen Brunson has had his two worst games of the season, shooting a combined 16-55 from the floor and just 2-12 from three. Julius Randle is out for the season. OG Anunoby has combined for just 21 points through the first two games.

Joel Embiid, injured knee, and all have played 76 out of 96 possible minutes so far in the series, posting 29 points in game one and 34 in game two. His running mate, Tyrese Maxey followed up his 33-point performance in game one with a 35-point effort in game two.

If I told you all of these things heading into the start of this series, a safe bet would be to assume that the 76ers jumped all over the Knicks at MSG and are heading home up 2-0, on the verge of advancing to the second round, right? Wrong.

The scrappy, never-say-die New York Knicks have somehow found a way to hold serve at home, winning both matchups in New York. On Saturday night in Game 1, Deuce McBride and Mitchell Robinson played heroes as their All-Star point guard struggled.

Knicks grit out tough win to take 2-0 series lead

After hardly featuring in the rotation at all last postseason, Deuce poured in 21 points, including 5 huge threes, to keep the Knicks afloat despite Brunson's off night. He posted a +/- of 37. The best in Knicks franchise history for a postseason game.

Robinson, just a few weeks after his return from ankle surgery that kept him out for three months, showed everything that the Knicks were missing while he was hurt. He grabbed 12 rebounds, including 7 on the offensive glass which was more than the entire 76ers team. He also held reigning MVP Joel Embiid to 2-11 shooting as his primary defender, including 0-5 in the 4th quarter.

In Monday night's Game 2, it was Isaiah Hartenstein and Donte DiVincenzo's turn to step up. With the Knicks down by five with just 28.1 seconds to go, Brunson drilled a three to cut the lead to two. On the ensuing in-bounds pass, Josh Hart and Brunson managed to strip Maxey and kick it out to Donte for a three-point attempt. When his first shot missed, there was Hartenstein, crashing the glass and giving the Knicks an extra possession with just under 19 seconds left.

The ball once again found its way to Donte at the top of the key, and this time he delivered. He drilled a three to put the Knicks up 102-101 with just over 13 seconds remaining. On the other end, Hartenstein blocked Maxey, and the Knicks held on for a 104-101 victory in one of the most improbable finishes in recent playoff history. Donte finished with 19 points, and Hartenstein chipped in 14 to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Knicks stun Sixers in controversial come-from-behind win 

While the Knicks won a hard-fought game, the Sixers were left fuming from what they felt were missed calls that prevented them from evening the series.

Not to be lost in the shuffle is Josh Hart. Hart closed out game one with a barrage of clutch threes en route to a 22-point, 13-rebound double-double. In game two, he chose the first half for his Steph Curry impersonation, drilling 4 first-half threes, keeping the Knicks afloat while the rest of the offense struggled.

These last two wins perfectly encapsulate why this team has captured the hearts of every Knicks fan. They are tough, gritty, and play until the final whistle. When their All-Star forward went down midseason, they rallied to earn their first 50-win season in over a decade. When their All-Star point guard can’t get going in a playoff series, they pick him up.

When Mitchell Robinson closes instead of Isaiah Hartenstein, Hartenstein is the first one up on the bench cheering him on. When Brunson is asked postgame about how they won game 1, he makes sure to heap praise on his young backup Deuce McBride.

These Knicks play for each other and now head to Philly for Game 3 up 2-0 on the heels of one of the most electric wins in franchise history. The Villanova boys return to the city where they made names for themselves, with hopes of closing out the Sixers and propelling these Knicks onward in the postseason.