By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers traveled to New York to face the Knicks with a league leading eight-game road win streak. The franchise’s longest since the 2000-2001 season where they ended up in the finals. Unfortunately for the Sixers despite getting out to a 21-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Knicks were able use their bench and a fourth quarter power outage to beat Philly 108-97.
Philly started the game off hot. They were hitting their shots from beyond the arc and were running the Knicks off their home court. They were able to execute their offense and the ball was finding the open man and New York had no answers for it. Joel Embiid led them he scored 31-points and grabbed 14-rebounds and he overpowered the Knicks under-sized defenders and got them in early foul trouble. His playmaking was pivotal as well as he passed out of the double team and found the open man. This was one of the best opening quarters the Sixers have had all season and they got out to a 21-point lead. Had the game ended in the first quarter the Sixers would have had their 35th victory of the season.
Give the Knicks some credit they were down 21-points and lost to the Clippers in overtime last night. However, they kept fighting and outhustled the Sixers and were able to force them into turnovers and into some bad shots. They did enough to make this a game thanks to a 10-to-nothing run in the fourth quarter. They were able to comeback thanks to Evan Fournier a man who had been relegated to the Knicks bench throughout this season, but he made his presence felt at the Sixers expense tonight. He scored 17-points and hit five three-pointers tonight. Each three he made was a back-breaker for the Sixers because it either came because they left him wide open or he found the holes in their perimeter defense. Fournier led an explosive scoring effort from the Knicks’ second unit who scored 44 bench points tonight to the Sixers 14. That was the difference in this game. The second unit brought the effort tonight and Philly had no answers for them.
When the Sixers look back on this one, they will realize they let a game slip away that they dominated throughout most of it. They cannot continue to have defensive holes, turn the ball over too many times, and expect to win a game. With a Wednesday night primetime match-up against the Boston Celtics coming up they will need to make sure they have the defensive plan figured out to try to slowdown the explosive duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Both will make them pay for any defensive holes and are capable of finding the open man if they get too aggressive. If they want to beat the Celtics they will need to stay attached to their man on defense, limit turnovers, and continue to move the ball around against an aggressive Celtics defensive unit. If they want to get their 35th victory of the season.