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New York Knicks-Philadelphia 76ers Playoff Preview

For two of the major sports leagues, the NBA and the NHL, it’s playoff time. The NBA playoffs begin on Saturday, and one of the games on Saturday is between the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks, and the seventh seed, the Philadelphia 76ers.


The 76ers are making their seventh consecutive playoff appearance after beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Play-In Tournament. Meanwhile, the Knicks went 50-32, the first time in 11 years that they have won 50 games, to make the playoffs for the first time in a long time. The Knicks' late wins in the regular season got them the second seed.


Apparently, the 76ers wanted this matchup, according to 76ers forward Paul Reed.


"We ain't ducking no smoke, but yeah, we wanted the Knicks matchup -- of course," Reed said during an appearance on Run It Back. "That's the easier team, I guess. It's gonna be fun. We match up pretty well with them. They got a great guard, we got a great guard. We also got Joel (Embiid), the MVP. ... He's one of the most unstoppable guys in the league right now."


The Knicks won the season series against the 76ers 3-1. This will be the tenth meeting these two teams have had in the playoffs and their first one since 1989. One downside for the Knicks is that they will be without Julius Randle, who’s out with an injury and is the Knicks' second-leading scorer(24 points per game) and top rebounder (9.2). While Randle is out, the Knicks will have Mitchell Robinson, OG Anunoby, Josh Hart, and Jalen Brunson. Brunson has been hot and having a great season, averaging a career-high 28.7 points(fourth in the NBA) and 6.7 assists. One key for the 76ers is stopping Brunson and not letting him be at the top of his game.


The key to success for the Knicks is stopping Joel Embiid. The 76ers are 31-8 when Embiid plays; he only played against the Knicks in one game due to an injury. Embiid, the reigning NBA MVP, is averaging 34.7 points and 11 rebounds this season. Since returning from injury, he appears to be back to his old self, as he averaged 34.5 points and 12 rebounds in the final two games of the regular season and had 23 points and 15 rebounds in the play-in win against the Heat. Nicolas Batum is another player to watch. Batum was a significant contributor in the 76ers win against the Heat. Embiid and Batum are a powerful duo, and if they play at their best, then the 76ers will be hard to beat.


Prediction

I think this series will go the full seven games. It will be a good and very close series, but I think the Knicks will win because they’ve beaten the 76ers three times already and will play a little bit better than the 76ers. The Knicks will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks-Indiana Pacers series and have a good shot at making it to the Eastern Conference Finals.



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