Donte DiVincenzo caps desperate rally with 3-pointer, Knicks beat 76ers 104-101 to take 2-0 lead

NEW YORK — Donte DiVincenzo made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining after a desperate scramble, and the New York Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 104-101 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

The Knicks trailed by five points within the final 30 seconds, on the verge of losing home-court advantage before a stunning rally, starting when Jalen Brunson finally got a shot to fall during an otherwise miserable night.

Brunson’s 3-pointer from the corner bounced on the rim and fell in, cutting it to 101-99 with 27 seconds remaining. Josh Hart stole the ball from Tyrese Maxey to get the ball back for the Knicks, but DiVincenzo missed a 3-pointer. Isaiah Hartenstein grabbed the rebound and passed it to OG Anunoby, who got it back to DiVincenzo, who hit that one to make it 102-101.

Hartenstein then blocked Maxey’s drive, Anunoby made two free throws, and the Knicks held on when Joel Embiid missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Brunson finished with 24 points despite going 8 for 29 from the field. Josh Hart had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and DiVincenzo scored 19 points.

Maxey had 35 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in a brilliant performance after he was ill earlier in the day and missed their morning shootaround. Embiid had 34 points and 10 rebounds.

Game 3 is Thursday in Philadelphia.

The 76ers appeared on the verge of going home happy after Maxey had 15 points in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 1:09 to play gave the 76ers a 100-96 lead and when Kyle Lowry made a free throw with 47 seconds to go, the crowd at Madison Square Garden was as quiet as it had been all night.

A few minutes later the fans were chanting DiVincenzo’s name deliriously after he had given the Knicks their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since the first round against Boston in 2013.

Hartenstein chipped in 14 points and Anunoby had 10, but it was mostly the efforts of Brunson, Hart and DiVincenzo – the three former Villanova Wildcats who will now head back to Philadelphia for the next two games.

Hart scored 19 in the first half to keep the Knicks close in a game they didn’t lead for the first time until there were four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Brunson was only 8 for 26 in Game 1 but had eight rebounds and six assists Monday.

Embiid played 39 minutes, rarely looking bothered by his surgically repaired left knee he appeared to reinjure in Game 1. But he and Maxey had little help, with Tobias Harris the only other Philadelphia player in double figures with 10 points.

Maxey, a finalist for the Most Improved Player award, hit three straight 3-pointers to start the game and send the 76ers to a 9-0 lead. They were ahead by 10 in the second quarter when Embiid was called for a technical foul. After he was called for a foul trying to block DiVincenzo on a drive to the basket, he used the ball to shove DiVincenzo back.

That got the fans into it, booing Embiid profanely, but the Knicks couldn’t make much of a dent in the score until Hart scored seven straight points, with his 3-pointer in transition cutting it to 51-48. It was 53-49 at the break.

Reserves Bojan Bogdanovic and Deuce McBride, who had big performances in Game 1, combined for 11 straight New York points for a 90-82 lead with 7:43 remaining. But Philadelphia battled back to tie it at 94 on a basket by Maxey.



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