In last night’s meeting between the Sixers and the Knicks in the City of Brotherly Love between two teams coming off at least one loss, it was the men of Doc Rivers still deprived Joel Embiid and James Harden that got off to the best start. Two players are expected on the turn in this situation: Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris to whom many responsibilities are assigned. With 16 points scored in the first 20, they responded with the present, and Philly quickly left the Knicks in retro, although they were not completely left either. Many technical errors and difficulties when the 2nd unit entered prevented the Philly team from taking off and at the end of the first period, the score was still ultra-tight (22-21). And that wouldn’t change in the 2nd quarter, neither team took off. RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson (13 points each) hold the house on the side of the Knicks, and the two teams, very clumsy and making a lot of garbage, remain in a pocket handkerchief.
But again in the final minutes of this first half, with the Sixers lacking rotation, it was hard to handle. Obviously, this was the perfect moment for the Knicks to extend their first game lead, returning to the locker room with a score of 58 to 53. However, during the break, we found the absence of a Mitchell Robinson solid in circle protection, for the rest of the game due to knee pain. The opportunity is good for the Sixers to attack the circle to come back to score. And that, Maxey did not doubt, with two consecutive drives and two triples that allowed Philly to take advantage 69-66 in front of an audience that was all focused on the goal of the rear who already had 27 points in his counter. A great way to celebrate your 22nd birthday!
“They were able to get us out of what we wanted to do. And from the moment they did that, I was able to find ways to get guys shots, while putting myself in good situations. I can attack the paint and get out to shooters. » Tyrese Maxey
The concern for the local team is thatIsaiah Hartenstein took over from Robinson as well, putting two counters on De’Anthony Melton while Julius Randle also increases his defensive level. In a and-1 of Montrezl Harrell Wells Fargo was heating up and in the final minutes of the 3rd quarter, the atmosphere was breathless. The defense was strong on both sides, Paul Reed throwing interceptions, the Knicks are responding together, every basket scored represents a mission, and at this point in the game, it’s hard to predict who will win.
“Everything always starts with a good defense. From there we were able to move the ball more and get to the paint. We needed everyone to do their job and that’s what happened. » Jalen Brunson
However, on the Philadelphia side, it was Harris’ turn to ensure the scoring, while in New York, the external address had no subscribers (6 of 26 at the end of the 3rd quarter). Despite its reduced numbers, by the end of the season, thanks to Maxey’s madness, Philadelphia was still in the lead and had even built a nice little cushion of 9 points early.
remember that Tom Thibodeau performs very little Evan Fournier who in addition to starting on the bench, was not far from being invisible until then, with no points scored and only two small shots taken in this device where he was essentially used as a spot-up shooter. Fortunately, from the beginning of the 4th quarter, he showed himself differently, especially by sending a very nice alley-oop pass to Obi Toppin before scoring his first 2 points on a spin move in the paint. At the same time, Toppin continued to show, calming the crowd many times with 2-3 tomars and some well-felt long distance bombs, and carefully, the Knicks caught up, back to -4 with less than 5 minutes. remaining He was responsible for the money-time with a new 3-point shot that put the Knicks ahead for the first time since the 3rd quarter, 2 minutes from the end. The sophomore interior just gets massive heat stroke.
“The way Obi shoots 3-pointers is a real bonus for us. We’ve talked about incorporating him more into the offensive rotation if there’s an opportunity and tonight, that was case. » Tom Thibodeau
The room was in chaos and at the worst possible time, the Sixers suffered a breakdown that turned out to be fatal. After 1 of 2 shots from Barrett, the Knicks showed a 3-point lead with 32 seconds left, it was time to have cojones on one side or the other. And fair: PJ Tucker misses his 2nd free throw, Matisse Thybulle took the offensive rebound and pulled it for a Maxey who until then was the man of the match. Unless his 3-point attempt turns into a birthday brick, the opportunity is missed and the hopes of the Pennsylvania public collapse. The leader was able to score 2 more free throws later to bring his total to 31 points, Toppin (13 points in the last quarter) came to spoil the party.
“They played small and they moved everything. We stopped attacking and we didn’t believe in it. Our efforts were good tonight, but we have to do better in execution. In the 4th quarter, we thought we were going to win . We wanted to keep the ball and that punished us. We lacked players who are capable of making a difference. That’s what happens when you miss Joel Embiid and James Harden. » Doc Rivers
The Knicks, despite a desperate attempt by Melton on the last possession, ended their losing streak by winning 106-104 while the Sixers themselves, chained their second straight loss at home. The absence of two All-Stars is finally felt and the return of Joel Embiid scheduled for the next few days could do a world of good.
Interview in Philadelphia by Guillaume Graciano