WATCH: Sixers set to face Knicks in first round of NBA Playoffs after defeating the Heat

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It has been 35 long years since the last time that the 76ers clashed with the Knicks in the NBA Playoffs, as the Philadelphia club is set for this first-round matchup after defeating the Heat this Wednesday in a tight 105-104 victory. The Sixers rallied back from a 14-point deficit inspired by reigning MVP Joel Embiid, you had first been listed as questionable that same morning. 

Now, they are set to face their New York rivals this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. “I think they’re for real,” said coach Nick Nurse about their weekend opponents. “I think they’re really good. I think they’re fast. I think they can shoot. I think they hit the glass. They can guard you.”

“I think they’ve earned that [second] seed. They’ve played really well and beaten a lot of good teams. So we have our work to do these next couple of days to get ready for them.”

The 76ers big man ended up dropping 23 points and winning 15 rebounds that night, despite many believing he wouldn’t be fit to play due to maintenance on the knee injury that sidelined him for over two months back in January. “See you in New York,” Joel said as he left the locker room last night.

The Miami franchise still have a chance of making the NBA Playoffs if they manage to defeat Chicago, who eliminated the Hawks last night with a dominant 131-116 win. Whoever wins will earn the eighth seed to face league-best Boston in the first round.

Only problem is, they might have to go for it without their main star Jimmy Butler, who seems to have suffered an MCL injury during this Wednesday’s defeat. The guard ended the contest with 19 points, while teammate Tyler Herron dropped 25.

New York completed regular season with a historic 50-win record and qualified for the NBA Playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s second seed. Against Philly, the Manhattan club triumphed in three out of their four matchups this campaign.

The Sixers squad praises rival star Jalen Brunson ahead of their first-round clash this weekend at the Garden

All-Star Tyrese Maxey recognized the Knicks’ superiority. “They kicked our tail in the regular season, and it’s time to go in there and fight,” the guard said. “They’re tough. They start at the head of the snake with Jalen Brunson, and we gotta find ways to slow him down.

“They’re an extremely grimy team. They play hard, they’re physical, they’re tough, and that’s their identity. So for us to go in there and get W’s and try to win this series, we have to match that and overcome that and be better than that.”

Kyle Lowry, on the other hand, dedicated special praise to Brunson. “Listen, the way he’s played his game, I think I’ve always seen the abilities, but he’s a special player, man,” said the fellow Villanova alum. “He’s a very special, talented kid. He worked hard and just by his abilities, he takes advantage of the opportunities that he’s had.”

The Sixers must be careful as they committed 11 turnovers when trailing 51-39 at halftime against the Heat last night, while missing 15 of 18 attempts from beyond the arc.