After failing to hold onto a 17 point lead, the Knicks did not prevail in crunch time to defeat the 76ers on the road. This game was filled with excitement including Ben Simmons making the first three-pointer of his career, a scuffle between Marcus Morris Sr. and Joel Embiid, a 15-0 run by the Knicks, a 17-3 run by Philly, and nail biting action down the stretch. The Knicks were down by 1 point with 1:33 remaining in the game, when Marcus Morris Sr. missed a contested, fast break layup. The 76ers proceeded to drill two straight three-pointers and put the game away. Marcus Morris Sr. showed out in his hometown, registering team-highs in points (22), rebounds (13), and assists (6). Frank Ntilikina also had a standout performance, scoring 17 points, 1 point shy of his career high. Taj Gibson provided tremendous energy for the Knicks, scoring 11 points in 14 minutes, most notably when he sparked the Knicks in the 3rd quarter nailing a 19 foot jumper, followed by a ferocious slam and triple. Julius Randle (17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals) and RJ Barrett (8 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals) gave the Knicks good minutes, but shot inefficently, shooting a combined 9-25 (36%). Joel Embiid gave the 76ers a strong performance, compiling a 23 point, 12 rebound, 5 assist statline. However, the Achilles heel for the Knicks was Ben Simmons and the late antics of Mike Scott. Simmons scored 18 points, dished out 13 assists, and grabbed 7 rebounds. Mike Scott didn’t score a point in the 1st half, but erupted in the 2nd half hitting 4 three pointers, 3 in the 4th Quarter, and led the 76ers in defensive rating (82).
Why The Knicks Lost
The Knicks played a great game, sticking with Philadelphia in most statistics and even shooting a higher percentage than Philly from the floor, three-point, and the foul line. What plagued the Knicks was poor ball movement, not scoring inside the paint, and not defending the three-ball down the stretch. The Knicks tallied 17 assists, almost half of the 76ers 30. New York’s ball movement was noticeably stagnant when Philadelphia went on their runs late in the 3rd and 4th Quarter. The Knicks were also outscored 30 points to 40 from inside the paint. The Knicks settled for a lot of midrange jumpers (26) and shot a poor 15-33 (45%) from inside the paint. In the 4th Quarter, the Knicks shot 8-20 (40%) from the floor and a poor 1-5 (20%) from midrange. The 76ers shot 11-21 (52.4%) from the floor and a scorching 4-9 (44.4%), almost 10% above the league average) from three in the 4th.
Lately, the Knicks have been clicking more on both sides of the ball and are giving consistent effort. New York can make some significant strides if they would stop settling for mid range jumpers and move the ball more, especially late in games. Also, the bench has really struggled defensively as of late, shown in their last game when the 76ers went on a 17-3 run after Ntilikina came off the floor for a breather late in the 3rd Quarter. The Knicks next matchup is at home against the Spurs who have lost their last 7 games, Saturday Night at 7:30pm Eastern Time.