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Joel Embiid defiant as Sixers go 2-0 down to Knicks: ‘We’re going to win this’

Joel Embiid struck a defiant figure after the Philadelphia 76ers fell 2-0 behind in their first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, insisting: “We’re going to win this”.

Having slipped to a 111-104 defeat in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden, the Sixers looked set to leave the iconic arena with a Game 2 victory on Monday, only to collapse in a dramatic finale.

Philadelphia held a five-point lead with just over 47 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but Jalen Brunson’s 3-pointer precipitated a controversial 14.3 seconds which decided the game.

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Tyrese Maxey subsequently turned the ball over and New York’s Donte DiVincenzo made the game-winning 3-pointer at the second time of asking as the Knicks triumphed 104-101.

Despite the Sixers having a mountain to climb as they head back to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Thursday, Embiid has faith they will turn the series around.

“We’re good,” Embiid told reporters after the defeat. “We’re going to win this series.

“We are going to win this. We know what we’ve got to fix. We did a better job today, so we are going to fix it.

“We are the better team. We are going to keep fighting.”

The Sixers claimed they had attempted to call a timeout on Maxey’s inbounds pass which resulted in the turnover, only for the officials to not grant one.

Seconds earlier, they were also frustrated that Brunson was not called for a foul when he appeared to have a handful of Maxey’s jersey.

“Everybody was trying to call a timeout on the floor,” Embiid said. “Me included. Coach on the sideline, but they didn’t give it to us.

“That’s on the league. That’s on the NBA. That’s on the frigging referees. I hate to put the game on them. I am sure the report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened.

“But like I said, that’s unacceptable. That’s not on [Maxey]. That’s not on any of us. We fought for 47 minutes and whatever, 20 seconds. For that to happen, that’s not okay.”

Embiid – whose 34 points on the night were only bettered by Maxey’s 35 – missed a potential game-tying 3 on the buzzer as the Knicks solidified their advantage, but Philadelphia coach Nick Nurse was impressed with many aspects of his team’s display.

“Hey listen, we played really well, did a lot of great things,” Nurse said. “We played better in a bunch of areas tonight. Obviously it’s difficult when it’s so close and you kind of give it away at the end.

“It’s obviously difficult in these circumstances, right? Makes the series a little longer.”

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