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Knicks vs 76ers: Can NY Steal Series Despite Embiid’s Return?

The New York Knicks are a surprising No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and they’re facing a team that many bettors had among their NBA picks to be in that spot: the 7th-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia advanced with a Play-In Tournament victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night after finishing seventh in the regular-season standings.


Knicks vs 76ers: Can NY Steal Series Despite Embiid's Return?
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

New York overtook Milwaukee for the second spot in the NBA standings at the very end of the regular season. The Knicks weren’t expected to do much following the loss of forward Julius Randle to a season-ending shoulder injury in late January. Philadelphia dealt with injuries as well, most significantly reigning league MVP Joel Embiid, but he is healthy and looking to live up to early NBA Finals odds.

New York won three of four regular-season matchups between these teams, including both games played in Philadelphia. Despite that, our sportsbook currently has the teams at even -110 odds to take the series.


Embiid a Question Mark: Can Knicks Steal Game 1 From 76ers?

It should be no surprise that Philadelphia is a better team with Embiid on the floor. Still, NBA playoff odds are favoring the Knicks to take the first game of the series. The versatile 7-footer averaged 34.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.7 blocks this season, though he was limited to just 39 games due to a knee injury that is still a concern.

Embiid missed the final regular-season game but played in the Play-In win over Miami, finishing with team highs of 23 points and 15 rebounds. He played in just one game against New York this season, finishing with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, and his playing status will be a major storyline in this series.

The 76ers have a young star in the making in guard Tyrese Maxey, who was 11th in the NBA in scoring at 25.9 points per game. Maxey is also a solid playmaker, dishing out 6.2 assists per contest

Philadelphia has a veteran team, with guard Kyle Lowry bringing championship experience from his time with Toronto and forwards Tobias Harris and Nicholas Batum being on multiple playoff teams. But any NBA betting on the 76ers has to be made with the caveat that Embiid might not be 100% healthy.



Knicks: The Little Engine That Could

There is not a lot of size on the Knicks’ roster, and not having Randle around hasn’t helped either. The All-Star forward averaged 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his 46 games this season.

The loss of Randle pushed guard Jalen Brunson into even more of a leading role, and he’s been fantastic, garnering some support for MVP honors. Brunson leads the Knicks with 28.7 points and 6.7 assists per game.

The loss of Randle made the Knicks use a starting lineup of three guards – Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo – as well as small forward OG Anunoby and center Isaiah Hartenstein. Trying to defend Embiid will be a team effort for the Knicks, who were second in the league in points allowed this season, giving up 108.2 per game.


Home Court & Loud Fans Fuel New York’s Playoff Hopes

Having the homecourt advantage is a big plus for the Knicks, as they have gone 27-14 at Madison Square Garden this season. New York fans are thirsty for a winner, and they’ve been behind this hard-nosed group as they’ve made their run to this point. Expect loud crowds for the games in New York City that will fuel the Knicks’ effort.

Embiid will dominate the interior as long as he’s able to play, but we like the perimeter shooting of the Knicks to be enough to push them to advance. The series should be a long one, going six or seven games, but make your bet online on New York coming out on top.



Questions Of The Day

Who won the regular-season series between the 76ers and Knicks?

New York won three of the four regular-season matchups with Philadelphia, with the 76ers’ only victory coming at Madison Square Garden in March.

When did the Knicks and 76ers last play each other in the postseason?

The last time the Knicks and 76ers squared off in the playoffs was 1989, with New York sweeping the first-round series in three games.

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