Knicks set to test mettle vs. Joel Embiid, 76ers in Game 1

The best New York Knicks team in a decade was built with a Philadelphia flavor.

Now the 76ers are the first hurdle to clear for the Knicks as they look to embark upon the franchise’s longest playoff run this century.

New York will host Philadelphia on Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.

The Knicks earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference after going 50-32 — their best seed and top record since the 2012-13 team also was seeded second after finishing 54-28.

The 76ers (47-35) clinched the seventh seed Wednesday night by coming back from a 12-point halftime deficit to edge the Miami Heat 105-104 in a play-in game.

Saturday’s first-round matchup pits teams that were rarely at full strength during the regular season.

The Knicks haven’t made the NBA Finals since 1999 and haven’t advanced beyond the second round since 2000. They had only four players participate in at least 70 games. Three of those players — Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart – were teammates on national championship-winning teams at Villanova.

Former All-Star Julius Randle is out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury suffered Jan. 27. Center Mitchell Robinson missed more than three months following ankle surgery. Backup center Isaiah Hartenstein managed to play 75 games despite battling an Achilles injury for most of the second half.

New York was 20-3 in games in which OG Anunoby played following his acquisition from the Toronto Raptors Dec. 30, but he missed 27 games due to an elbow injury.

“Every season you go in, you know there are a number of possibilities,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “There are a number of things you have to navigate through. And that’s what I love about this team. And it started right from the beginning.”

Only three members of the 76ers played in at least 70 games. Reserve Paul Reed played in all 82 games while Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey played in 70 games apiece.

But while those three combined to average more than 50 points per game, the 76ers’ hopes of winning their first title since 1983 rest on the shoulders — and left knee — of reigning NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time scoring champion Joel Embiid.

Embiid, 30, was limited to 39 games by a chronic left knee injury but averaged 34.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists per contest. The 76ers went 31-8 with him in the lineup but just 16-27 when he was in street clothes.

Embiid was listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game but finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds and five assists Wednesday against Miami. He dished to Kelly Oubre Jr. for the tiebreaking 3-point play with 36 seconds left.

“Hopefully every day gets better,” Embiid said about his knee. “But we’ll just keep monitoring it.”

The Knicks won three of the four games in the season series. Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds in his lone appearance against New York on Jan. 5, a 128-92 win by the Knicks.

The Knicks and 76ers haven’t met in the playoffs since a first-round matchup in 1989, when New York swept the best-of-five series.