No grinding, this is a family setting. - Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Inspired by Rick Brunson, the Knicks put "a-hurtin" on the Sixers in the Wells Fargo Center.
They received a pretty good beating the day before at the hands of the New York Knicks, but your Philadelphia 76ers didn't seem to think they got enough of one. On the back end of the early season home-and-home, the Sixers didn't bring any semblance of a functional offense or inspired defense. Many ill-advised forced jump shots and Knick three-pointers later, the Sixers found themselves on the wrong end of a 110-88 shellacking.
What I'm assuming was fueled by an inspiring pre-game freestyle rap straight from the dome of starting center Kwame Brown, the Sixers exploded to an early 14-4 lead. Three-pointers from both Jrue Holiday and Dorell Wright alongside early tough defense, forcing the Knicks into tough shots got the home crowd going and put some hope into Sixers fans that their team would even up the season series against the Atlantic Division rival Knicks.
After the initial spurt from the Sixers, there weren't many positives coming from the white shirts for the remainder of the game. What was once a promising start dissolved away and became a hilarious parody of the Sixers running any type of offense whatsoever. Too many times did a possession end with a horribly forced jumpshot that had less of chance going in than I have making an appearance on the new Boy Meets World spin-off.
If there was one sequence that put the proverbial icing on the cake of the Sixers' night, it had to be Nick Young's fadeaway, falling out of bounds, 3-point shot attempt with plenty of time left on the clock (10 seconds). So much time left that I'm pretty sure I could have baked a batch of banana-nut muffins from the time he touched the ball until the horn sounded (that's called an exaggeration to prove a point, folks).
The Knicks capitalized on the opportunity the Sixers gave them on that side of the floor and turned it into great execution on the other end. The Sixers were stifled with the Knicks' pick-and-roll offense and ball movement from start to finish. Point guard Raymond Felton was reminiscent of the guy who was the point guard to start the year for this same team just two seasons ago. While some will stare at the 21 points put in from Carmelo Anthony, I thought it was Felton who was the real key to the Knicks' vast success in Philadelphia.
If the Swaggy P shot from above was the picture of the Sixers' offensive game tonight, there was a possession in the second half involving Felton that was the perfect description of the how the Sixers played defense tonight. After a missed Knick jumpshot, four Sixers surrounded the rim, hoping for a rebound. The ball bounced off the rim and who came up with it? Why, it was the smallest man on the floor at the time in Felton that hussled (killer instinct!) his way to an offensive rebound, of which the Knicks used to hit a second chance three-pointer shortly after.
Whether it was Jrue (or really, any other wing) not getting his hand up on the open shooter or the Sixers frontline getting pushed around (at one point even getting called out by color commentator, Malik Rose for not being tough) by Tyson Chandler and company, it wasn't a pretty sight in the Wells Fargo Center for Sixer fans.
To add insult to injury, Rasheed Wallace, who has been out of the league for two years, came in firing in his hometown of Philadelphia and buried a three-pointer to end the third quarter... right in Lavoy Allen's eye. Ronnie Brewer, career 25% three-point shooter, hit three out of four attempts (his one miss in garbage time) from downtown. Off a turnover, Pablo Prigioni went on a fast break, 1-on-2, blindly threw the ball backwards and found JR Smith for a monstrous slam, of which no other Sixer ran back to defend.
This was not an example of what to send to camps on how to play an efficient game of basketball (and Fred McGriff surely would not endorse it). Through three games this season, the Sixers offense has looked lost for the majority of the time, having yet to reach 90 points. It is at times like this where I have to keep reminding myself that the Sixers don't have their best player on the floor with them yet, so I'm not going to worry too much about the ineptitude seen in yesterday and tonight's games. With many new faces (and bodies, I guess) in Sixer uniforms this year, I'd advise we still give it a little time until they can hopefully get into a rhythm.
It wasn't enjoyable. It wasn't pretty. I can't confidently say that any one Sixer played well. But remember, it's extremely early and Andrew Bynum is on the horizon, hopefully fully healthy soon.