Donte DiVincenzo completes a last-minute comeback with a 3-pointer, leading the New York Knicks to a 104-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers

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Donte DiVincenzo (Credits: NBA)

An eight-point lead disappeared, and it seemed like the Knicks were about to lose their advantage. Madison Square Garden was almost silent. “It wasn’t a good feeling,” said Donte DiVincenzo. But then, everything changed.

DiVincenzo made a crucial 3-pointer with just 13 seconds left after a frantic scramble. This led the New York Knicks to a thrilling 104-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, giving them a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

The Knicks were trailing by five points with only 30 seconds left, but they managed to pull off one of the most remarkable comebacks in playoff history. It all started when Jalen Brunson finally made a shot after struggling to find his rhythm all night.

Brunson’s 3-pointer bounced on the rim before going in, cutting the deficit to 101-99 with 27 seconds remaining. Josh Hart then stole the ball from Tyrese Maxey, giving the Knicks another chance.

Although DiVincenzo initially missed a 3-pointer, Isaiah Hartenstein grabbed the rebound and passed it to OG Anunoby. Anunoby quickly got the ball back to DiVincenzo, who made the shot to give the Knicks a one-point lead at 102-101.

“It was crazy and chaotic, but at that moment, we had nothing to lose,” said Hart. “We had to play as aggressively as possible, and it worked out.”

Hartenstein then blocked Maxey’s attempt to score, Anunoby made two free throws, and the Knicks secured the win when Joel Embiid missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks 3

Despite Brunson’s struggles, he finished with 24 points. Hart contributed 21 points and 15 rebounds, while DiVincenzo scored 19 points.

According to Sportradar, it was only the fourth time since the 1996-97 season that a team won a playoff game after trailing by at least five points in the final 30 seconds.

The other instances include Miami’s comeback against San Antonio in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, Golden State’s overtime win over New Orleans in Game 3 in 2015 during their first of three titles in four years, and Kobe Bryant’s game-winning shot against Phoenix in Game 4 of a first-round series in 2006.

Despite feeling ill earlier in the day and missing the morning shootaround, Maxey delivered an impressive performance with 35 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds. Embiid also played well, contributing 34 points and 10 rebounds.

Game 3 will take place on Thursday in Philadelphia. Embiid expressed confidence in the team’s ability to bounce back, saying, “We’re going to win this series. We know what we’ve got to fix, and we did a better job today, so we’re going to fix it. But we’re the better team, and we’re going to keep fighting.”

The 76ers seemed poised to secure a win after Maxey scored 15 points in the fourth quarter. However, the game took a dramatic turn when DiVincenzo made a crucial shot, giving the Knicks a 2-0 lead in the playoff series. This marked their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since facing Boston in the first round in 2013.

“It was a huge moment, and the atmosphere was incredibly loud,” said DiVincenzo. The loss was undoubtedly disappointing for the 76ers. “We need to move forward now,” Maxey stated. “We have 48 hours to think about it and come up with a plan to win two games at home.”

Hartenstein contributed 14 points, and Anunoby added 10. However, the standout performances came from Brunson, Hart, and DiVincenzo – all former Villanova Wildcats who will now return to Philadelphia for the next two games.

Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks

Hart scored 19 points in the first half, helping the Knicks stay close in a game where they didn’t take the lead until four minutes remained in the third quarter. Brunson struggled in Game 1 but bounced back with eight rebounds and six assists on Monday.

Embiid played 39 minutes without showing any signs of discomfort from his surgically repaired left knee, which he seemed to have injured again in Game 1. However, he and Maxey received limited support, with Tobias Harris being the only other Philadelphia player to score in double figures with 10 points.

Maxey, a finalist for the Most Improved Player award, made an impressive start by scoring three consecutive 3-pointers to give the 76ers a 9-0 lead. They were up by 10 in the second quarter when Embiid received a technical foul.

After being called for a foul while attempting to block DiVincenzo, Embiid pushed him back with the ball, which angered the fans and led to profane booing. Despite this, the Knicks couldn’t narrow the gap significantly until Hart scored seven consecutive points, bringing the score to 51-48. The halftime score was 53-49.

Reserves Bogdanovic and McBride, who played well in Game 1, combined for 11 consecutive points to give the Knicks a 90-82 lead with 7:43 remaining. However, Philadelphia fought back to tie the game at 94 with a basket from Maxey.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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