After Knicks fans swarm 76ers’ arena, Joel Embiid calls home crowd turnout ‘disappointing’

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid is disappointed, and not just because his Philadelphia 76ers are only one game away from elimination.

After a 97-92 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday widened Philadelphia’s deficit in its first-round series to 3-1, Embiid said he found the turnout at his home court “disappointing” .

Knicks fans filled much of the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, greeting the team with cheers and its point guard, Jalen Brunson, with MVP chants.

“I love our fans,” Embiid said after the game. “(I) think it’s unfortunate and I’m not denouncing them, but it’s disappointing. Obviously you have a lot of Knicks fans and they’re down the street and I’ve never seen it, and I’ve been here 10 years. Yeah, that kind of pisses me off, especially because Philadelphia is considered a sports town. They are still present and I don’t think this should happen. Yeah. It’s not okay.”

New Yorkers didn’t come just because the Knicks have one of the biggest fan bases in the NBA. It was also a question of location.

The Amtrak ride from New York’s Penn Station to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station takes just 90 minutes. With a 1 p.m. warning on the weekend, Knicks fans could take the train to Philadelphia and be home before dinner time. Of course, Knicks fans are known to travel well.

The team regularly crowds crowds in other, less intense markets. Orlando is often jokingly called New York South, because of all the Knicks fans who invade the Kia Center every time the orange and blue play there. Knicks fans also pack the crowd at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., twice a year, as do those in attendance just across the bridge at the Barclays Center.

This isn’t the first time they’ve been to the Wells Fargo Center, either. In January, Knicks fans poured into the 76ers arena during a 36-point win over Philly. By the end, with many Philadelphia fans gone, Brunson was getting MVP chants in a road arena, home to an otherwise passionate fan base — and the reigning MVP, Embiid.

Philadelphia sports fans also have their own reputation.

They live or die with their major sports teams, including the 76ers. Brunson, who had 47 points in the Game 4 victory, knows him better than your average NBA player. He may have never played for the Sixers, but he did play at Villanova University, which is located just outside of Philadelphia and plays its games in the same arena as the Sixers.

There is also another reason.

“This Philadelphia fan base, I’ve said it before, they’re very relentless, very passionate,” Brunson said. “I mean, I’m an Eagles fan, I would know, but seeing the Knicks, hearing the Knicks here, it’s pretty cool. It’s awesome.

(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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