Why the Philadelphia 76ers can still turn this series around

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game One
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game One / Elsa/GettyImages

If 76ers fans thought that losing Game 1 was a tough pill to swallow, their Game 2 collapse will be even harder to digest. Philadelphia led the New York Knicks for the majority of the game, but as the game entered its final stages, the hosts turned in a climactic end to a comeback, thanks in large part to questionable no-calls.

On Monday night, the Sixers didn’t just find themselves in a winnable game, they had the game won. While the NBA’s Last 2 Minute Report revealed a few incorrect no-calls that assisted in the Knicks' frantic comeback, the reality for the Sixers is that they are trailing 2-0 in the series. Regardless of how they arrived at that outcome, that is the outcome. Now, they find themselves in a hole they did not want to be in. 

With Game 3 all set for tonight in Philadelphia, Sixers fans won’t have to wait long to see the response from the team. After a devastating loss, Game 3 that has become all the more important. Will they come out looking defeated or will they come out as the aggressor, finish well, and secure the game 3 victory?

3 Reasons why the 76ers can still turn around the series

1. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey will continue to play at a high level

Though he is clearly playing injured, Joel Embiid has been productive this series. Tyrese Maxey has shown why he is an elite scorer and has shot the ball with great efficiency.

Game 1

Tyrese Maxey: 33 points, 14-26 FG, 4 assists, 44 minutes 

Joel Embiid: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 37 minutes, +14

Game 2

Tyrese Maxey: 35 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds, 12-22 FG, 5-11 3PT, 44 minutes

Joel Embiid: 34 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 12-29 FG, 39 minutes 

With their backs against the wall, expect the Sixers stars to play well. 

2. Someone is due to step up 

Outside of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers have not gotten much production from their other players. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a total of 14 points through two games. Tobias Harris has scored just 17. After knocking down 6 threes in the play-in tournament, Nicolas Batum has scored just ine points in this series. 

Meanwhile, 38-year-old Kyle Lowry has been the 76ers’ third best player to start these playoffs. If we are expecting Embiid and Maxey to play well again, the team is in desperate need of reliable tertiary threats to drop an efficient 15 points or so in Game 3 and the succeeding games. 

Given how Embiid and Maxey are scoring, Philly has no need for a third volume scorer; they just need their supporting cast to knock down more shots and play their role. Expect a strong response from the other role players, especially at home. 

3. It is desperation time

With their backs against the wall, there are no ideas that are off the table. Nick Nurse knows this. Nurse has the flexibility to mix up the rotation and give some guys minutes if others are not playing well. Could we see Cam Payne, Ricky Council IV, or KJ Martin? 

Returning home to Philadelphia should also provide a confidence boost for this team. They are in desperate need of a win, and one should expect them to play as if that is the case. Expect the Sixers to make adjustments, take Game 3, and put a little pressure on the New York Knicks. 

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