This game was just weird.
That’s the only way I can describe it. You could kind of tell it might be when it was announced that Josh Richardson was going to be a late scratch with a hip injury and Furkan Korkmaz was getting the start.
It actually started okay. The Philadelphia 76ers started by getting three field goals on their first six possessions while the Knicks scored on five of their first seven possessions. Then … it happened. It finally … happened.
In a moment that will likely be an episode of SB Nation’s “Rewinder” series, Ben Simmons rose from the floor of the Wells Fargo Center from a distance of 22 feet from the basket and cashed his first career NBA three pointer in a regular season game. It was glorious, and we were not dreaming.
It was indeed not a drill. Did this fuel the team? Considering the Sixers only made three field goals out of their next ten possessions, I would say probably not. The crowd was damn hype, though.
The rest of the first half was primarily dominated by the good shooting of the Knicks. They shot 46.7 from the field, six of nine from deep, and still trailed by two at the half despite hitting shots on seven of their first nine possessions of the second quarter. The Sixers responded with a 12-2 run at the end of the second quarter that included (another) Joel Embiid vs. the world kerfuffle. This time, the agitator was Marcus Morris. Embiid kept his cool this time and, with Tobias Harris, scored the Sixers last nine points of the first half.
That would be their last bit of scoring for quite some time.
The Sixers went absolutely frigid to start the second half. They didn’t score a field goal until 6:25 to go in the third quarter (an Al Horford bucket). In the meantime, the Knicks opened up a 17-point lead thanks to Taj Gibson (seven points in the third) and Frank Ntilikina (seven points as well).
Even though the Knicks had that near 20 point lead and even though the Sixers had only made 7 of 18 shots in the third quarter, they were somehow only down by five to start the fourth after a 10-0 run ended the third.
The Sixers tied the game at 82 after James Ennis III hit a bucket prompting a Knicks timeout, and the Knicks traded leads until about midway through the final 12 minutes before Mike Scott said, “That’s enough of this nonsense.”
Scott had a fantastic final frame hitting three threes including one that was followed up by an Ennis three that put the Sixers up 102-95 with :51.9 seconds remaining.
I still don’t know how they did it with Embiid shooting 7-19 (1-7 from three). (Yes, you’re seeing that correctly. Joel Embiid attempted seven three pointers. That’s another discussion for another day. It’s late, and I’m too tired and wired to get into that.)
I don’t know how they did it with Harris shooting 5-13 from the field. I don’t know how they did it shooting a collective 43.8% from the field, but the Sixers are still undefeated at home after finishing off the Knicks 109-104.