76ers' most discouraging moment happens an hour after Game 2

New details from the Sixers' loss on Monday night reveal a disappointing reality.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

One of the wildest finishes of the 2024 NBA playoffs so far occurred Monday night in the closing moments of Game 2 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Knicks at Madison Square Garden. With 28 seconds left, the Sixers led by five points and looked to be heading back to the City of Brotherly Love with the series knotted at one apiece.

But after a Jalen Brunson three-pointer got the lucky roll and bounced in to cut Philly's lead to two, a Tyrese Maxey lost ball turnover became a Donte DiVincenzo three ball to give New York the lead with 13 seconds remaining. An unthinkable set of circumstances flipped what would have been a series-changing win into a crushing loss for the road team.

Philadelphia now heads back home down 2-0 to their rivals in the first round. As pressure continues to mount and Joel Embiid's health remains in question, things are looking bleak for the 76ers. Philly desperately needs to win each of the next two games to get back into the series and give themselves a chance at advancing.

But perhaps the most discouraging part of the Sixers' loss was how they handled losing. After the game, it was revealed that Philadelphia would be filing a grievance to the NBA concerning the officiating from the first two games of this series.

76ers filing a grievance shows no accountability

For reference, the Sixers were called for seven more fouls and shot seven less free throws than the Knicks over the course of the first two games of this series. Perhaps they have a little ground to stand on here, but this is just a bad look.

The 76ers lost Game 1 by seven and Game 2 by just three. Their first move being to contact the league office about things being unfair shows that their heads are not in the right place. The team should be looking to make adjustments and see what they can clean up heading into Game 3 so that they can return to MSG tied 2-2, not complaining right at the onset of the final buzzer.

Of course, there have been some legitimate officiating concerns for the Sixers this year, like the no-call loss against the Clippers a few weeks ago. But the focus should be on the here and now, not what was happening weeks or months ago.

Not to mention, Philly has the best player in this series by a long shot. They should trust that Embiid, whether 100% healthy or not, has the ability to take over in the next game and ultimately to turn this series around. Taking that mentality into Thursday night would certainly feel like a better approach than immediately going to the league office to say you think you were cheated.