Miles McBride is spot-on with mindset Knicks need to have in critical Game 4

This is what the Knicks need to do on Sunday.
New York Knicks, Miles McBride
New York Knicks, Miles McBride / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The New York Knicks knew their first-round series against the Sixers would be physical. That physicality ramped up to a dangerous level in Game 3 when Joel Embiid intentionally pulled Mitchell Robinson's legs out from under him.

After Thursday's loss, Embiid defended his actions and said he was trying to protect himself when he caused Robinson to fall. He framed it as if he was avoiding an injury to himself when, in reality, he injured Robinson. Embiid said the Sixers "can get physical too," and "it goes both ways."

New York doesn't need to stoop to Embiid's level in Game 4 and intentionally hurt him. Tom Thibodeau would never advise that even though Robinson's status for Sunday's game is up in the air. Instead, the Knicks need to take Miles McBride's advice.

Miles McBride says Knicks need to "throw the first punch" in Game 4

No, Deuce doesn't mean New York should literally throw punches. The Knicks need to be the one to strike first and keep the hits coming. A hot start on the road in the playoffs is a huge boost. Wells Fargo Center is typically a hostile environment, but Knicks fans flooded Philadelphia on Thursday. New York will need that same energy again on Sunday.

Of course, the officiating crew will decide how physical both teams are allowed to be. Maybe the referees will be more inclined to blow their whistles after Robinson's injury. Or maybe the refs will do the opposite. What the Knicks know for sure is that Embiid will do everything he can to draw contact, even if it means faking it.

If the officials give Embiid a favorable whistle (and they most likely will), New York must be physical and disciplined. As Isaiah Hartenstein said, limiting Embiid's trips to the free-throw line is the easiest way to take him out of the game. He shot 19-of-21 from the charity stripe in Game 3.

The Knicks are one of the toughest teams in the league. They don't give up, and they don't back down. A Game 4 win won't come easy, but especially given what happened in Game 3, you can bet New York will come out swinging on Sunday.