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BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 6: T.J. McConnell #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 6, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 110-106.

T.J. McConnell’s Buzzer Beater Gives Sixers 98-97 Win Over Knicks

With the Philadelphia 76ers down 10 points with 2:29 remaining, Joel Embiid ignited a rally for his team on Wednesday night just as he has done on several other occasions.

T.J. McConnell’s Buzzer Beater Gives Sixers 98-97 Win Over Knicks

However, it was T.J. McConnell who delivered the big final shot, sinking a jumper at the buzzer to lift the Sixers to a 98-97 home victory over the New York Knicks.

Embiid contributed 21 points and 14 rebounds to help Philadelphia bounce back from a 17-point deficit and win for the fourth time in five games.

”Playoff time, baby,” the rookie said.

Reaching the postseason still seems slightly optimistic for the Sixers. For the Knicks, however, playoff hopes remain much more dire, as they have now lost nine of their past 10 games.

Derrick Rose returned from a one-game break and scored 25 points for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony added 28.

Rose’s performance was a reminder of how much New York needs him. The former Bulls star missed Monday night’s loss to New Orleans when he went home to Chicago without notifying the Knicks first.

”I only missed one game,” said Rose, who simply said he returned to Chicago for family reasons. ”If I felt like I needed more time, I would have talked to the front office. But I feel like everything is all right.”

The Bulls traded Rose to the Knicks on the eve of the NBA draft with a year remaining on his contract.

Rose shot a mid-range jumper with 1:24 to go that extended the Knicks’ lead to 95-89, then cut through the lane for a shot on Embiid that kept the lead at three.

Embiid then sank a 3-pointer, leading fans to chant “Trust the Process!” He followed with a layup to make it a one-point game and McConnell, who finished with eight points, shot one over Anthony at the horn to send the crowd into a frenzy. Anthony was unsurprisingly frustrated.

”We should tell ourselves this was unacceptable,” Anthony said.

Embiid missed the final minutes of the first half with a sprained left ankle. Embiid, who missed two seasons recovering from injuries, returned in front of fans who were sipping his favorite Shirley Temple drink: a mixture of lemon-lime soda, grenadine and a maraschino cherry.

”One night, I went out with my teammates. I don’t drink alcohol so I wasn’t drinking,” he said. ”This girl walked up to me, she was talking to me, she was like, `Why aren’t you drinking?’ I was like, `I just don’t drink, alcohol is nasty.’ She was like, `I might have something for you.’ She went and got a Shirley Temple. Then I was like, `Oh, OK.’ Then I fell in love with it and since then, I’ve been drinking it.”

The Sixers next host the struggling Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, while the Knicks will host the Bulls on Thursday night.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 6: T.J. McConnell #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 6, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 110-106.

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.