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After Knicks fans invade 76ers arena, Joel Embiid calls home crowd turnout 'disappointing'

After Knicks fans invade 76ers arena, Joel Embiid calls home crowd turnout 'disappointing'

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

After a 97-92 defeat to the New York Knicks on Sunday that extended Philadelphia's deficit in the first-round series to 3-1, Embiid said he found the turnout at his home stadium “disappointing.”

Knicks fans filled large portions of the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, serenading the team and its guard, Jalen Brunson, with MVP chants.

“I love our fans,” Embiid said after the game. “(I) think it's unfortunate and I don't talk about them, but it's disappointing. Obviously you have a lot of Knicks fans on the road that I've never seen before, and I've been here 10 years. Yeah, it kind of pisses me off, especially since Philly is considered “Sports city. They always showed up and I don't think that should happen, yeah.”

The New Yorkers didn't attend just because the Knicks have one of the largest fan bases in the NBA. It was also about location.

An Amtrak trip from Penn Station in New York to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia takes just 90 minutes. And with 1 p.m. on the weekend, Knicks fans can take the train to Philadelphia and be home before dinner time. Of course, Knicks fans are known to travel well.

The team routinely commands crowds in other, less dense markets. Orlando is often jokingly referred to as “Southern New York,” due to all the Knicks fans invading the Kia Center when the Orange and Blue play there. Knicks fans gather in front of the Capital One Arena crowd in Washington, D.C. twice a year as well, as do attendees across the bridge at Barclays Center.

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This isn't the first time they've flocked to the Wells Fargo Center, either. In January, Knicks fans flocked to the 76ers court during Philly's 36-point win. By the end, when many Philadelphia fans had left, Brunson was receiving MVP chants in the road arena, which included a passionate fan base — and the reigning MVP, Embiid.

Sports fans in Philadelphia have their own reputation, too.

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

There's another reason too.

“I've said this before, the Philadelphia fan base, they're so relentless, so passionate,” Brunson said. “I mean I'm an Eagles fan, I know that, but seeing the Knicks and hearing the Knicks here is pretty cool. It's cool.”

(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)