Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson Sets Tone As Game 1 MVP vs. 76ers

Joel Embiid, Mitchell Robinson, Knicks, NBA Playoffs
Apr 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots over New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) in the fourth quarter in game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs did not get off to a good start for the New York Knicks. A slow start was semi-expected as New York had been off for nearly a week, while their opponents, the Philadelphia 76ers, played in the NBA Play-In Tournament on Wednesday night.

The 76ers were able to build an early 13-point lead as they ran their entire offense through reigning NBA MVP, Joel Embiid. Embiid scored the first nine points of the game for Philadelphia, including two and-ones.

He was asserting himself throughout the early portion of the game, as the Knicks sent some help at him and his teammates responded. Philadelphia scored 34 points in the first quarter, finding some answers to a usually stifling Knicks defense.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Mitchell Robinson, Joel Embiid, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks Updates

But, the entire tone of the game changed once Mitchell Robinson checked in. Like Embiid, Robinson missed a large chunk of the season because of injury. Rounding into shape over the final few regular season games, Game 1 was a prime example of the impact he can have on the game.

Robinson isn’t going to be the focal point of the Knicks’ offensive attack. He doesn’t have the playmaking acumen of Isaiah Hartenstein or much of a scoring impact outside of dunks and putbacks. But, he makes his presence felt on offense with his work on the offensive glass.

Before getting hurt in early December, Robinson was on a record-setting pace for offensive rebounds. In Game 1, he was a terror on the boards, grabbing 12 overall, seven of which were on the offensive glass.

He was routinely keeping possession alive for New York, who didn’t shoot the ball well but overwhelmed Philadelphia with a 55-33 rebounding advantage. Their work on the offensive glass led to 91 shot attempts compared to only 81 for the 76ers.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Mitchell Robinson, Joel Embiid, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks Updates

The one thing that sticks out for Robinson on the offensive end was the two clutch free throws he made in the closing moments of the game. The charity stripe has been nightmare fuel for Robinson this season, as he has made only 40.9 percent of his attempts. But his two makes helped the Knicks ice the game.

Defensively, where Robinson is elite, is where his biggest impact game in Game 1. The Knicks were struggling to get stops whenever he wasn’t on the floor, as he effectively shut Embiid down when the two matched up against each other.

As shared by Knicks Muse on X, Embiid shot only 2/11 when matched up against Robinson per NBA tracking stats. In crunch time of the fourth quarter, Embiid was 0/5 from the field, including two misses from 3-point range, with zero rebounds and a -5 plus/minus ratio.

Embiid did tweak his left knee in the second quarter on an impressive dunk, his first since returning to the court two weeks ago. That likely had an impact on his effectiveness in the second half, but credit needs to still be given to Robinson for the job that he did.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Mitchell Robinson, Joel Embiid, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks Updates

There aren’t many players more difficult to defend in the NBA than Embiid. He knows how to dupe his opponents into committing fouls so that he can rack up easy points and some rest at the foul line, but Robinson more than held his own.

In 30 minutes, he finished the game with eight points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, one steal and four blocks. He registered a plus/minus ratio of +20, helping make up for an off game from Hartenstein.

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