On a night where the Detroit Pistons needed four overtimes to overcome the Chicago Bulls, the Milwaukee Bucks took a 12-point lead over the Golden State Warriors into halftime and Kawhi Leonard did Terminator things to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers offense sputtered yet again.
The Sixers announced Mike D'Antoni's hiring as associate head coach earlier in the afternoon, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Sixers' 107-97 loss to the New York Knicks is not indicative of how poor the team played offensively. Brett Brown's team entered halftime down 21 points. They trailed by as many as 30 in the third.
The team's best offensive possession came on a miscue, when T.J. McConnell raced up court to follow-up Jerami Grant's half-court prayer at the end of the first quarter.
The Sixers continue to struggle tremendously from downtown, only converting 6-24 from three-point land this evening. Nik Stauskas has practically disappeared from Brown's rotation at this point, having sat the pine until the 8:32 mark of the second quarter. He played just 7 minutes all together.
The Sixers' wings couldn't slow Arron Afflalo in the post or on the perimeter. Derrick Williams even came off the bench to wreak havoc.
Brett Brown: "It [our defense] has been non-existent lately..We're getting manhandled physically by NBA wings." #sixers— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) December 19, 2015
You can find solace in Jahlil Okafor repeatedly overpowering and tip-toeing around Kristaps Porzingis for 20 points on 9-17 shooting. Richaun Holmes played 18 very-high energy minutes off the bench, contributing 10 points — 6 coming on aggressive, high-flying dunks— and 3 rebounds.
Tony Wroten's 15 points and reckless drives were highly entertaining at times, but that contribution is not enough to forget about his 7 turnovers. Even though he was a perfect 4-4 from the floor, Nerlens Noel was practically a non-factor offensively.
Hopefully D'Antoni can infuse some life and efficiency into the Sixers' offensive. It goes without saying how badly they lack a consistent rhythm.
The competition doesn't get easier, with a trip to Cleveland upcoming on Sunday afternoon.