76ers are criticized for strange decision in last minute vs. Knicks

Nick Nurse in a suit

March 8, 2020; Sacramento, California, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse gives instructions during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers seemingly threw in the towel far too early in Game 1 against the New York Knicks.

The Knicks outlasted the 76ers 111-104 in front of a packed house at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY

Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey scored a layup with 30 seconds to play, cutting Philly’s deficit to 109-104. But instead of making mistakes, the 76ers seemed content to simply let the Knicks milk the clock.

Knicks wing OG Anunoby took and missed a shot with six seconds left to beat the shot clock buzzer. His teammate Josh Hart grabbed the dagger’s offensive rebound to seal the victory for the Knicks.

Even if the 76ers had secured the defensive rebound after the miss, they would have had about five seconds to make up a five-point deficit. Philadelphia also got two timeouts and could have kept their chances alive if they had made the wrong play.

Unsurprisingly, the late-game decision drew criticism from fans and reporters on social media.

Knicks star Jalen Brunson didn’t have the best Game 1. He scored 22 points on 8/26 shooting to go along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

Brunson’s Knicks teammates picked up the slack — and then some. Josh Hart finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Deuce McBride scored 21 points and 5 threes off the bench.

Hart also hit the dagger three in the final minute, putting the Knicks up at seven with a minute to play.

The Sixers got a game-high 29 points from Joel Embiid. Despite the loss to Philly, surviving an injury in Game 1 may have been good news on an otherwise bad day.