Knicks talk mistakes that cost team Game 5: ‘Tough way to lose a ballgame’

The final minutes in regulation in the Knicks’ Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers were mistake-filled and cost New York a chance at wrapping up their first-round series.

Specific plays down the stretch allowed the 76ers to steal a game at Madison Square Garden and put pressure on the Knicks as the series shifts back to Philadelphia on Thursday.

“Tough way to lose a ballgame,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “We had a lead, and we got to play tougher with the lead. We fouled in a situation we don’t want to foul in. And in the end, [Tyrese] Maxey makes a big shot. We have to do better.”

Thibodeau summed up the mistakes easily. The first came with the Knicks up six with 26 seconds remaining. Maxey, who had a game-high 46 points, made a three-pointer and was fouled by Mitchell Robinson. Maxey would complete the four-point play.

“I’ll just take it like a man, I f—-ed up,” Robinson said of the play. “I’ll be better next game.”

Robinson, who returned to the lineup after sitting out Game 4 with an ankle injury, says he should have played Maxey straight up defensively but he wasn’t in position. But still up two points, the Knicks had a chance to ice it at the free-throw line.

Josh Hart was fouled while driving to the basket, but the forward made just one of the two free throws. On the ensuing 76ers possession, Maxey shot a three-pointer from about 40 feet to tie the game and send it to overtime.

The Knicks were questioned whether they thought they should have fouled the 76ers to take away any opportunity to tie it. And the team acknowledged there was a lack of communication on that defensive possession.

“We didn’t relay that. That’s an error on the guys on the court,” Hart said. “We have to make sure what the situation is. We can’t do anything about it now. We have to watch film and see what we can do better and get ready for the next game.”

“You have to communicate what your decisions are,” Thibodeau said. “We could have done better in that situation, and we will. That’s where our communication has to be better.”

The Knicks remain in the driver’s seat heading into Game 6, needing just one more win. They already won one game in Philadelphia in this series and hope to do so again.

For Thibodeau, the key to getting his team over this tough loss is keeping a routine and that’s what they’ll do Wednesday.

“Same routine after every game, whether you win or lose, come in the next day, come in look at the film, make your corrections,” the veteran coach explained. “There are things you have to fix, fix them and get ready for the next game. That should never change.”

Game 6 is set for Thursday in Philadelphia with a possible Game 7 back at MSG on Saturday.

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