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Sixers welcome and encourage a little cheerleading from Dawn Staley

CAMDEN, N.J. — Enough is enough.

That’s how Philadelphia basketball expatriate Dawn Staley, the coach of NCAA Tournament women’s champion South Carolina feels about Sixers ticket holders selling their seats to visiting fans for premium prices.

Knicks fans took over the Wells Fargo Center last Sunday, infuriating Sixers star Joel Embiid and his teammates, who were beaten then by the Knicks in Game 4 of the best-of-7 series that resumes with Game 6 Thursday at Wells Fargo Center (9 p.m., TNT).

Staley sat through that craziness next to Julius Erving and Allen Iverson and in a tweet on X urged Philly fans to step up Thursday: “I need the @WellsFargoCtr full of @sixers fans … season tickets holders DO NOT SELL YOUR TICKETS to Knicks fans … I repeat DO NOT SELL YOUR TICKERS to Knicks fans! Pour into our @sixers! We can really do this ish man!!!”

Reportedly, Sixers coach Nick Nurse is 100 percent behind Staley, his team willing to accept any help as it trails the Knicks, 3-2, in the series.

“I’d say we all can do better,” Nurse said Wednesday. “We need to coach better. Players are going to try to play better. And we need everybody’s support, man, for sure. I think the team is playing its guts out.”

The 9 p.m. start is totally different than what this Sixers team is accustomed to as all of its playoff have started no later than 7:30. But Nurse, the former Toronto Raptors head coach, says he favors it because “I’m used to it.

“We had a lot of those in the playoffs,” he said. “I love it.”

The NBA Finals used to start at 9 p.m. This year they begin at 8:30 p.m.

Nurse had fun describing the routine for his players with a 9 o’clock tipoff.

“When the ball goes up after nine,” Nurse said, “you start playing.”

The Sixers are 3-point favorites versus the Knicks.

• • •

Joel Embiid joined Ralph Sampson, David Robinson and Tim Duncan as the only NBA players to produce 19 or more points, 16 or more boards, 10 or more assists and four or more blocked shots in a single playoff game.

Embiid did that playing a career-high 48 minutes in the Sixers’ 112-106 overtime triumph over the Knicks.

Now, the bad news. Embiid turned the ball over nine times, the most in 58 career playoff games. Even with five extra minutes in overtime, that’s too careless in the postseason when each possession is highly valued.

“I thought they had a game plan to double every single possession I felt like,” Embiid said. “I turned the ball over a lot, but I felt like I just kept making the right plays after plays. We ended up paying off at times, at times we missed a lot of the wide open ones but then again, we look at ourselves and are like, ‘those are great shots, they’re wide open and I have to learn keep trusting, makes or misses.’ If the other team’s just going to keep doubling, I’ve got to keep making the right passes and the right plays over and over and over. That got a lot of our guys in rhythm. Even with the misses, if you touch the ball and you shoot it, you’ve got to get more opportunities to make the next one. I thought, in the end, we missed a lot of open ones, but we were pretty happy about the shots we were taking.”

• • •

The Knicks lost despite 40 points by Jalen Brunson, who basically was the team’s only player looking for a shot down the stretch in regulation and in overtime.

The Knicks were unable to contain Tyrese Maxey, who erupted for 46 points including a several triples, a four-point play included down the stretch.

“We did some different things, but good players always learn to adjust,” Brunson said. “So, we kept adjusting and creating space and just doing the things that he does. We just have to make it a little more uncomfortable. Stick together on the defensive side of the ball. He can’t just see one person. He needs to see multiple bodies. He was very comfortable, and he played very well.”

• • •

Devastating as the loss was, the Knicks have proven capable of winning at the Wells Fargo Center.

What remains to be seen is how devastating their Tuesday night collapse actually is. When you blow a six-point lead in the last 30 seconds it’s anything but easy getting back on track.

“A mistake here or there,” Josh Hart said. “A missed shot here or there. A missed free-throw here or there. We just got to make sure we’re sharp mentally and I think we’ll prepare with the game plan and go out there and execute.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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