Knicks vs. 76ers Game 1: Mitchell Robinson leads offensive-rebounding onslaught in New York victory



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Sometimes a particular storyline coming into a playoff series seems almost too obvious to be true. The New York Knicks were the league’s best offensive rebounding team during the regular season. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, were the 25th best defensive rebounding team. 

Once you factor Mitchell Robinson, who is probably the league’s best individual offensive glass man, being back for the Knicks, and Joel Embiid being hobbled, then it stood to reason that the Knicks were going to have a major advantage on the glass in this series. 

But how lopsided could it really be?

Well, in New York’s 111-104 victory in Game 1, lopsided qualified as an understatement. The Knicks were plus-22 in the rebounding column, annihilating the Sixers to the tune of TWENTY THREE offensive boards that led to a 26-8 advantage in second-chance points. 

Do the math, and that’s an 18-point margin in a five-point game, meaning the Sixers actually outscored the Knicks by 13 points on single-shot possessions. The problem was, there weren’t many single-shot possessions in this one. According to Cleaning the Glass, the Knicks literally rebounded 50% of their own misses in the half court. FIFTY PERCENT! Stopping an NBA team is hard enough without giving them two shots or more on half their possessions. 

That’s how you win a game in which you only shoot 39% as a team and your best player, Jalen Brunson, has one of his worst shooting games of the season at just 8-for-26. That is to say nothing of one of the best and hottest shooters in the league in Donte DiVincenzo being held to just eight points. 

That’s a lot of misses turned into opportunity for Robinson, who led the way with seven offensive boards; Isaiah Hartenstein and Brunson each corralled five offensive boards, and Josh Hart, who played hero with three 3-pointers in clutch time, finished with four. 

Robinson was magnificent in this game, playing extremely physical defense with Embiid while hitting a pair of clutch free throws down the stretch and blocking four shots on his way to a plus-20 for the game. 

This Moses Malone-style double offensive board and putback with under five minutes to play was giant. 

Not to be outdone, Mr. Hartenstein …

Robinson and Hartenstein are an elite big-man duo as rim protectors and obviously as rebounders, but the Knicks rebound from everywhere. Hart is one of the best positional rebounders in the league. OG Anunoby gets on the glass. Brunson is first to so many long rebounds. The Knicks just flat out play hard, and it got them a victory in Game 1 of a series that — for much of the evening — looked like it was going to swing Philly’s way. 





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