By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers have been riding high since the All-Star break. They had a five-game win streak as they faced the surging New York Knicks. The Sixers did not have it working at all offensively in this game. As they let the Knicks dictate the pace and had to come from behind. However, thanks to some strong perimeter defense and some hot shooting late in the game. Philly was able to snatch a victory over New York 99-96.
Early in the game, Philly just did not have it. They were missing makeable shots and did not have it on the defensive end either. The Knicks were able to attack Philly from the perimeter and the paint. Knicks forward Julius Randle scored 13 of his 19-points by half-time. It did not matter what Philly threw at him. He had an answer, rather it was a perimeter jump shot or a dunk in the paint. Philly did not have an answer for him on either side of the ball.
The Knicks perimeter defense forced Philly into some tough shots, and that caused a power outage for the Sixers. They could not hit anything by half-time. However, in the third quarter they woke up. Thanks in large part to a strong third quarter from guard Seth Curry. He scored 20-points and hit four three-pointers. Thanks to his efforts Philly was able to keep it close enough.
The Knicks still had an 11-point lead by the start of the fourth quarter. But, the Sixers bench responded and were able to cut the lead to four-points by the time the starters came back in. That’s all the Sixers needed as they used some strong perimeter defense to lockdown Randle and force other New York players to beat them. New York’s offense stopped once they doubled him. No other Knick was able to make Philly pay.
Forward Tobias Harris scored 30-points and had a late scoring surge to help Philly pull off this comeback victory. He continues his strong effort after getting snubbed for the All-Star game. He really attacked Randle and has been showing that he should have been an All-Star. Harris playing with a chip on his shoulder has been beneficial for Philly. As they got their seventh straight victory, and now head to a prime-time match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night.
Harris had a great night offensively, but his coach noticed something else. “Defensively, tonight, Tobias was phenomenal. As good as I’ve seen him. I thought that was the key,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Philly will need to make sure they get it going on the offensive and defensive end a lot sooner if they want to push the win streak to seven against Milwaukee.
On his motivation for the win tonight, “It’s Joel’s birthday, so I wanted to make sure he could eat his cake in peace,” said Harris.