The Sixers dropped their 5th game in a row tonight, losing to the New York Knicks, 99-93, at Madison Square Garden.
Tonight's game saw the return of Thaddeus Young, who had missed the past six games with a hamstring injury. Young and the entire Sixers organization were feisty early. Thad hit the offensive glass on the team's first possession, and Malik Rose growled when he saw Giants' defensive end, Justin Tuck. Young (11 points; 10 boards; 4 steals) also helped ignite a couple of fast breaks, which, according to Marc Zumoff on tonight's telecast, were the first fast break points since the Minnesota contest.
And then there was Spencer Hawes. Hawes was a lightning rod for controversy tonight, and perhaps the biggest heel to throw down in MSG since Yokozuna. ‘Ol Spence started the game 1-7 from the field; no doubt having trouble adjusting to the double rims and windy conditions at the Garden. Evan Turner had an aggressive, solid first quarter. He recorded five trips to the foul line and a technical - a Rasheed-esque 5:1 FT to technical ratio.
The Knicks' two point lead after one quickly ballooned into double-digits, thanks to a monstrous 25-4 run after the Turner technical foul. The Sixers compounded a series of dreadful half-court possessions with some mental lapses on defenses - a tasty little cocktail that has come to define the Sixers season.
I wouldn't say that the first six minutes of the second quarter was the worst stretch of basketball I've seen all year, because I watched the first two Knicks games. And the Houston game. And the Minnesota game. And the Detroit game. And the Toronto game. And the Clippers game. But it's under consideration. The Knicks crashed the offensive glass, and enjoyed a huge advantage in second chance points. Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks with 18 points at the break, and converted 9-10 from the FT line.
New York enjoyed a 52-40 cushion at the break.
Perhaps the most notable event of the game occurred moments into the second half. Spencer Hawes (11 points; 3-11 FG) got into a little scrap with Carmelo Anthony (WATCH). Off a missed shot, Carmelo punched Hawes in the back of the head. I don't think any prior action triggered this other than some shoving underneath. After Hawes understandably confronted Anthony, Tyson Chandler joined the fray and shoved Hawes. Hawes and Chandler were given technical fouls, and Anthony got a Flagrant "1." Although, I'm not sure what you have to do to get a Flagrant "2" in the NBA. If punching another human being is only a "1," then what warrants a Flagrant "2"? Stabbing someone with a trident? A Dutch oven?
After the Rumble in the Garden, action settled down. Both teams played an even third quarter. The Sixers were paced by Jrue Holiday (30 points on 12-24 shooting; 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 TOs) and Evan Turner (21 points, 7-18 from the floor). I loved how Turner attacked the basket tonight. He got to the line seven times tonight (7-7). Also, Lavoy Allen chipped in an effective 10 and 8, and looked more assertive tonight than he had in prior weeks.
Holiday kept the Sixers within arm's length, knocking down a couple of triples in the 4th quarter. But it wasn't enough. New York staved off the Sixers' 4th quarter rally and snapped their own four-game losing streak. Carmelo Anthony, a nightmare to deal with on the low block, got to the FT line 18 times (16-18) and finished with 29 points. Amar'e Stoudemire added 22 points on a tidy 9-10 shooting.
The Sixers host the Orlando Magic Tuesday.
Where is Arnett Moultrie? Another DNP-CD for the rookie. I just don't get it. It's not like Moultrie is buried behind Bob Lanier and Bill Russell here. The season is quickly slipping into the abyss. We traded a first round pick for this guy. Play him. Play him. What am I missing?
Sixers Post-Game Poetry*
Sixers lost again
"Anything new from Bynum?"
Is our battle cry
***Thanks to Amazin' Avenue