Sixers center Joel Embiid against Knicks

Getty Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers sits on the bench late in game one of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks will continue to go through reigning MVP Joel Embiid after taking a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse made it clear they do not plan to shut down Embiid despite his injury scare in the Knicks’ 111-104 Game 1 win.

“I don’t think so,” Nurse told reporters when asked if they considered shutting Embiid down. “He really is a warrior, and he’s battling. I think he absolutely wants to play.”

Embiid gave the Knicks fits with 18 first-half points as the Sixers took early control of the game with his strong play, a stark contrast to his sluggish play-in performance.

The Knicks caught a lucky break when Embiid landed awkwardly following a jaw-dropping alley-oop dunk off the backboard.

Embiid left the final 2:37 of the first half with questions about his availability hanging over the Sixers’ heads.

“I knew when I went in at halftime that they were checking him out,” Nurse said. “And that he was up and moving. And they did say we are seeing. They didn’t rule him out yet. They just took him all the way to the end there to get him ruled back in.”

While Embiid returned in the second half, he was never the same again.

The Knicks held a tentative Embiid to 11 points on 2 of 11 shooting in the second half.


Knicks’ Answer to Joel Embiid

Embiid still finished with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes. But the Knicks neutralized him in the second half.

They found their answer to Embiid in Mitchell Robinson, who played his best game since his return from ankle surgery.

Robinson battled Embiid toe-to-toe, limiting the Sixers All-NBA center to 2 of 11 shooting when he was his primary defender, per NBA’s matchup tracker. His strong defensive presence against Embiid forced Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau to play him more than Isaiah Hartenstein.

Robinson nearly had a double-double (8 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks) in 31 minutes off the bench. The Knicks outscored the Sixers by 20 points when Robinson was on the floor.

Hartenstein was productive in 18 minutes as he wound up with six points, seven rebounds and three assists. But Embiid shot 5 of 8 against his defense.


Jalen Brunson Credits Miles McBride for Stepping Up

Knicks star Jalen Brunson shot only 8 of 26 from the floor as the Sixers defense zeroed in on him. But his backup Miles McBride came through with a playoff career-high 21 points to thwart the Sixers.

McBride hit 5 of 7 3-pointers to carry the Knicks offense when Brunson was cold.

Brunson made sure to acknowledge him during his postgame interview.

“Deuce McBride,” Brunson told MSG Network’s courtside reporter Rebecca Haarlow when asked what it took for the Knicks to overcome the Sixers lead in the fourth quarter.

McBride’s layup broke an 84-84 tie with 8:25 remaining. His 3-pointer less than a minute later gave the Knicks a 91-86 lead with 7:37 left.

Hart finished what McBride started with three clutch 3-pointers as the Knicks survived the Sixers’ late rally.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” McBride told reporters after the game. “I learned from last year. And tried to take that and be impactful, do whatever I can to help the team win.”

McBride added four assists and three rebounds as he finished with a game-high plus-37 in 28 minutes off the bench.

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