Questionable end-of-regulation decision costs Knicks big time against Sixers

What were the Knicks thinking?
New York Knicks, Philadelphia Sixers, Tyrese Maxey
New York Knicks, Philadelphia Sixers, Tyrese Maxey / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The series win was so close that New York Knicks fans (and legends like Patrick Ewing, John Starks, and Carmelo Anthony) could taste it, but Tyrese Maxey snatched it away. He scored seven points in the last 30 seconds to force the game into overtime, where the Sixers won 112-106.

With 15.1 seconds left, Nic Batum fouled Josh Hart. He missed the first free throw but hit the second to extend the Knicks' lead to three, 97-94. Maxey, who pulled off a miraculous four-point play 10 seconds before, caught the inbounds pass and flew down the court. He pulled up from 34 feet to tie the game at 97.

There were several reasons why New York lost Game 5, but if Maxey had been fouled before he shot the ball, maybe the Knicks would be celebrating the series win and not preparing for another trip to Philadelphia.

Tyrese Maxey propels Sixers to stunning Game 5 win over Knicks

Miles McBride had the chance to foul Maxey, but he didn't. By the time Joel Embiid set a screen on him, it was too late. Maxey had already pulled up. The momentum was in the Sixers' hands. Maxey kept Philadelphia's season alive in a series of events that rival how the Knicks won Game 2.

The Knicks usually keep calm under pressure. They embrace it but, instead, let the win slip through their fingers. Jalen Brunson scored the first five points in overtime but also made a critical mistake when he committed a turnover on a jump pass to Isaiah Hartenstein.

If anything, New York's costly blunders should fuel the team for Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center. Knowing Thibodeau, he won't sleep for the next two days. If the Knicks can't win one of the next two games, the last 30 seconds of regulation (plus overtime) will haunt them all summer.

Let's hope that in 48 hours, New York fans won't be thinking about Game 5 but will be celebrating the team's second consecutive trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Please.