The New York Knicks struck first against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their first round series of the NBA Playoffs with a 111-104 win. The Knicks took advantage of a brief absence from Joel Embiid to surge ahead by double digits. While the Sixers fought back, the Knicks were able to hang on and win. A big part reason why the Knicks won was the play of their bench, specifically Miles McBride. McBride set a Knicks NBA Playoffs record with the highest plus/minus ever recorded at +37 as per StatMuse.

Following the game, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau praised the bench for being key in the win against the 76ers as per SNY Knicks.

“Our bench was terrific led by Mitch. I thought Bogi gave us really good minutes and Duece did as well. Those three guys gave us a big lift,” Thibodeau said. “We had to dig out of the hole to start the game, then the rebounding was big. . .We started slowly, then we started the third quarter slowly, but we found a way to win.”

The Knicks are playing without Julius Randle who is going to miss the entirety of the NBA Playoffs with a shoulder injury. But if the bench can continue to play like this, they’ll have a good shot at making a strong playoff run.

The Knicks played only three players off the bench: McBride, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic. McBride led the way for the second unit with 21 points, Bogdanovic added 13 and Robinson had eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Miles McBride has been a huge spark for the Knicks

New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) celebrates with teammates after a play against the Miami Heat during the fourth quarter at Kaseya Center.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

This season, Miles McBride has developed into a consistent contributor off the Knicks bench. This is McBride’s third season in the NBA after the Knicks selected him with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He played sparingly during his first two seasons with the Knicks, but he’s had a bit of a breakout season.

McBride has played in 68 games for the Knicks this season, starting 14 of them, at a little over 19 minutes per game. He averaged a career high 8.3 points per game, 1.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists with splits of 45.2 percent shooting from the field, 41 percent shooting from the three point line and 86 percent shooting from the free throw line.

In the Knicks win against the 76ers in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs, McBride finished with 21 points, three rebounds, four assists and one steal in a little over 28 minutes of play. He shot 7-12 from the field, 5-7 from the three point line and 2-2 from the free throw line. He was second on the team in scoring behind 22 points apiece from Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.

It’s probably not realistic to expect McBride to play like this for the entirety of the playoffs, or even the series against the 76ers. But it is realistic to expect him to be a knock down three point shooter off the catch, a defensive disruptor and an overall energy guy for the second unit. They’ll need his contributions if they want to take a 2-0 lead against the 76ers.