Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks blew a lead, fought back, then held the line in a nail-biting 118-115 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Jalen Brunson’s 41 points and 12 assists led the way in the Game 6 clincher.

The Knicks will now face their former rival Indiana Pacers in the East Semifinals.

It was a roller coaster of a game. The Knicks got off to a hot start and led 33-11 at one point. A blowout seemed inevitable, but the Sixers had other ideas. Philadelphia closed the gap and took over the second quarter, snatching all momentum from New York and taking a 54-51 lead at halftime. Buddy Hield, who barely played all series and was inactive Games 4 and 5, suddenly exploded for 20 points and six threes in 21 bench minutes.

Philadelphia led most of the third quarter too before the Knicks came alive. Timely buckets from Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo kept the Knicks in the game, plus stellar defense from OG Anunoby. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for the Sixers, who scored 42 bench points to the Knicks’ five. Joel Embiid logged 39 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out in the final seconds.

The Knicks can now shift their focus to the Pacers, who won the season series 2-1. It’s worth noting that the rubber game on Feb. 10 was a bit of an anomaly. New York lost 125-111, but was down four key players: Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein, OG Anunoby, and Julius Randle.

Contrastingly, on Feb. 1, the Knicks won 109-105 at the Garden with Hartenstein posting an incredible 19 rebounds.

Needless to say, New York playoff basketball is back.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.