Sixers eliminated after dropping Game 6 to the Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (21) shoots against New York Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein during the second half of Game 6 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Facing elimination, the Philadelphia 76ers took to their home court after a thrilling stand in New York for Game 5. The last time the Sixers took to their home court, the stadium was noticeably full of fans from up I-95, anything but the ideal situation for a home game.

To prevent that from happening again, the Sixers’ ownership group, joined by Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, purchased 2000 tickets to give to Sixers fans who serve the Philadelphia community. While there was still a noticeable contingent of Knicks fans, the difference between Games 4 and 6 was noticeable. However, even with better representation, the Sixers still found themselves starting slow out of the gate.

Sixers start slow once again

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, center, goes up to shoot against New York Knicks’ Josh Hart (3) and Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the second half of Game 6 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

For the first eight minutes of the game, the Sixers were unable to score outside of Joel Embiid, who had the first nine for Philadelphia in this game. It was a nightmare beginning on both-ends of the court for the home team.

Without Embiid, the Sixers had no choice but to find offense elsewhere, but they managed just eight points without their star. By the end of the first, the Sixers were down by more than double digits, but the embers of change were sparked.

Bricken for Chicken does it again

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey (0) reacts during the second half of Game 6 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Once again, Bricken for Chicken sparked the Sixers. Ahead of the game, it was announced that for the rest of the playoffs, every Sixers home game would extend their second-half giveaway, Bricken for Chicken, to the entire game.

The rules are simple: if the opposing team misses two consecutive free throws, everyone in the Philadelphia area gets free chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A. While the city was sad to see the ‘Frosty Freeze-Out’ go away, fans in the stadium still got loud for some free chicken; who wouldn’t?

Against the Miami Heat in the NBA Play-In game back on April 17, the turning point, coincidentally or otherwise, came after Heat forward Caleb Martin missed consecutive free throws and Sixers fans won a five-count nugget. Fans immediately got to their feet and hardly sat back down after. Especially after the Nico Batum three, which directly followed the awarded nuggets.

Against the Knicks, the very same series of occurrences took place at the end of the first quarter, as the Sixers found themselves down by 14. Remembering that Bricken for Chicken was extended throughout the game, Jalen Brunson missed consecutively at the line, which was closely followed by a Nico Batum triple. Once is a coincidence, twice is a trend.

Buddy Hield seizes the opportunity

Sixers hield
Philadelphia 76ers’ Buddy Hield warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

After poor performances through the game’s first three games, it seemed trade deadline acquisition Buddy Hield had completely lost both his spot in the rotation and the trust of his head coach. With the Sixers down 14 nearing the end of the fourth quarter, Nick Nurse turned once again to the player who, before donning a Sixers uniform, was one of the greatest shooters in NBA history.

Immediately, Buddy came into the game and made a head-scratching error, leading to a turnover. Once again, it seemed that the moment was too big for Hield, that is, until it finally happened. Seeing one of his threes finally find the bottom of the net; Buddy Hield was filled with the level of confidence that only a true sharpshooter could display. Scoring an electric 17 points in the second quarter, Buddy was back, and not a moment too soon.

Try though he may, there just wasn’t enough from the Sixers tonight to push the series to seven.

Close, but no cigar

New York Knicks’ Josh Hart reacts during the second half of Game 6 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

While their first-half comeback was respectable, the Sixers just didn’t have enough to carry this team to victory. Tobias Harris finished the game with zero points; they game up 20 offensive rebounds and couldn’t get a whistle or a bucket for almost the entire night. The Sixers did manage to pull even with just under 40 seconds left, but a Josh Hart three sealed the game in New York’s favor, and the Knicks would win 114-111.

Many didn’t expect this team to come back from being down 1-3, and many more didn’t expect a parade after Joel Embiid’s injury. You can even go back to the James Harden trade, making this season a “gap year” in the eyes of some. None of that improves the situation. The Sixers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs in the first round for the first time since 2020. That loss will linger into the offseason, and nothing can be done about it until next season.

Thank you

Finally, I want to thank each and every one of you who’ve followed along this Sixers season with us here at PSN. Your support, whether it be by reading our work, joining the conversation on our YouTube channel, or chatting it up with us through our various social media channels, is crucial in us doing this.

PSN is not possible without you, the people. That will never be lost on us.

Until next season Philadelphia fans.