Knicks’ Bench Catapults Team To Game 1 Win vs. 76ers

Bojan Bogdanovic, Joel Embiid, Knicks, 76ers, NBA Playoffs
Apr 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) looks to drive past Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) in the first quarter during game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks entered their first-round series in the 2024 NBA Playoffs with the Philadelphia 76ers as underdogs. It was only the second time a No. 2 seed was listed as an underdog coming into the series.

In the early going, it certainly looked like oddsmakers had gotten that one correct. The 76ers, who defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Play-In Tournament on Wednesday night, jumped out to an early 13-point lead.

New York’s starting five didn’t look great, but some rust was expected. The Knicks hadn’t played since Sunday, so getting back into rhythm was going to take a little while. But, it was certainly concerning to see the starting five struggle as much as they did.

In the first quarter, with the starters playing a majority of the time, the Knicks were outscored 34-25. In the third quarter, Philadelphia dominated again, winning 36-21 and erasing a 12-point halftime deficit.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Mitchell Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Miles McBride, 2024 NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks Updates

Despite those rough stretches, New York still found a way to come out ahead, taking a 1-0 series lead with a 111-104 victory. The Knicks can thank their second unit for that, as they changed the tenor of the game once checking in.

Thibodeau trimmed his rotation to only eight players with Miles McBride, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mitchell Robinson coming off the bench. All three played excellently, as the Knicks found the most success with them on the court.

McBride was a sparkplug on both ends of the court. He caught fire offensively, knocking down 7-of-12 shot attempts from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. His stat line was rounded out with three rebounds, four assists and one steal.

As impressive as his offensive production was, McBride’s crowning achievement was being able to keep Tyrese Maxey in check defensively. Maxey scored a game-high 33 points and was 14-of-26 from the field.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Mitchell Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Miles McBride, 2024 NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks Updates

However, when matched up against McBride, Maxey found very little success. Maxey was 3/9 with two turnovers when McBride was the main defender. No one found success against McBride, as the 76ers shot 4-of-14 when matched up against him.

Bogdanovic, who was acquired from the Detroit Pistons ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline, has started looking more comfortable in recent games for the Knicks. He was only 4-of-12 in Game 1, but three of those makes were from 3-point range, as he scored 13 points.

He also helped the Knicks in their dominance on the boards. Bogdanovic pulled down seven rebounds, helping New York finish off defensive possessions by securing missed shots. Tom Thibodeau is gaining trust in Bogdanovic, as he played 25 minutes and received minutes in the second half, something that wasn’t always occurring near the end of the regular season.

Arguably the biggest storyline for the Knicks was Mitchell Robinson and his dominance when matched up with Joel Embiid. Embiid got off to a fast start, finding success when matched up against Isaiah Hartenstein.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Mitchell Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Miles McBride, 2024 NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks Updates

But, Robinson was able to put a chilling on Embiid’s thrilling. His athleticism and aggressiveness around the basket overwhelmed the 76ers, as he hit the offensive glass hard with seven rebounds on that side of the ball. 

Overall, Robinson pulled down 12 rebounds, adding eight points, one assist, one steal and four blocks. He played 30 minutes, his most since coming back from injury, as his presence was felt on both ends of the court.

The Knicks bench badly outplayed the bench of the 76ers, outscoring them 42-7. McBride, Bogdanovic and Robinson all finished the game with positive plus/minus ratios, while the entire starting five was negative.

Getting production like that from the second unit is key to finding success in the NBA Playoffs. If that level of production continues, New York has a very good chance of advancing to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Want the latest NBA analysis, breaking news, and insider information? Click Here. Follow NBA Analysis Network on Twitter and Facebook.

Interested in reading the latest storylines and analysis in the NFL? Check out our partner NFL Analysis Network.

Knicks Could Make This Massive Trade After Playoff Exit

The New York Knicks finished with the second seed in the Eastern Conference but came short of reaching the conference finals. After their NBA postseason

Massive Intel On Knicks’ Pursuit Of New Star; 3 Names Linked

The New York Knicks were eliminated from the NBA postseason after losing to the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Bronny James Gets Brutally Honest About ‘Tough’ NBA Path

Few young athletes enter the NBA carrying the weight of expectations that Bronny James does, largely because he is LeBron James‘ son. This unique challenge