Joel Embiid’s health in question as 76ers battle Knicks in Game 2

The New York Knicks followed their now-conventional path to victory Saturday night.

After an atypical loss with Joel Embiid in the lineup, the Philadelphia 76ers likely spent Sunday in the familiar position of worrying about the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player’s short- and long-term availability.

The Knicks will look to take a commanding lead in an Eastern Conference first-round series Monday night, when they host the 76ers in Game 2 of the best-of-seven set.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Miles McBride and Mitchell Robinson provided sparks off the bench Saturday night, when they combined for 42 points and 22 rebounds as the host Knicks pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 111-104 victory.

McBride scored 21 points, his most in a reserve role this season, while Bogdanovic had 13 points in just his eighth double-figure effort in the last 19 games. Robinson had eight points and pulled down 12 rebounds in 30 minutes in his longest stint since he returned from a three-month absence following ankle surgery.

The trio of reserves scored 26 points for the Knicks during a 39-14 run over the final 13 minutes of the first half as New York turned a 32-19 deficit into a 58-46 lead.

The efforts of Bogdanovic, McBride and Robinson were doubly pivotal for the Knicks, whose starters — OG Anunoby, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein — scored 69 points while shooting just 35.5 percent from the field. McBride and Bogdanovic combined to shoot 8 of 13 from 3-point land while the starters were 8 of 22 from beyond the arc.

Getting contributions from everywhere on the roster is nothing new for the Knicks, who had seven players average in double figures this season and 12 players make at least 10 starts.

“We started the game slowly,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And I thought it changed when the energy of the bench came in. And we need everyone, so tonight it was the bench.”

The 76ers, who were 31-8 when Embiid played in the regular season, appeared to be headed for a similar result when he scored the first eight points of Philadelphia’s game-opening 18-7 run.

But Embiid, who has been battling a chronic left knee injury, was slow to get up after crashing to the floor following a dunk with 2:49 left in the first half that pulled the 76ers within 49-46. The Knicks scored the final nine points of the half with Embiid on the bench.

The star center returned for the second half but struggled to make his usual impact. Kyle Lowry and Tyrese Maxey combined to score 20 points as the 76ers opened the third with a 32-14 run. Embiid had five points in that surge and finished with just 11 points in the final two quarters, when he was 2-of-11 from the field — including 0-for-5 in the fourth, when Embiid sat out the first 3:39.

Embiid finished with 29 points on 8-of-22 shooting.

Embiid did not speak to reporters Saturday night. Head coach Nick Nurse said following the defeat Embiid would be re-assessed between games but said Sunday that Embiid told him he felt good.

“It’s tough seeing your brother go down,” Maxey said Saturday night. “You kind of feel for him, pray for him and hope he’s OK. I was glad to see him when we got back to the locker room (at halftime) and he said he was going to go back out there and give it a try. So hats off to him for his determination and his will to win.”