Tonight, the Sixers beat the Knicks in their first road game of the season. Here are some quarter-by-quarter thoughts.
1Q: Julius Randle is killing Tobias Harris (starting 4-of-4 from the field for 9 points). Tobias also missed a ten-foot jumper and wide open 3. Some nice two-man game between Embiid and Curry sets the latter up for a layup. Some excellent Danny Green defense on a switch against RJ Barrett. Some really nice movement out of Embiid post-ups. Tobias bites on an Alec Burks pump-fake — drink! Embiid stayed in the game all the way until the 1:36 mark, when an all-bench lineup took over. Tied at 27 after one.
2Q: All-bench lineup (Maxey, Milton, Korkmaz, Scott, Howard) begins the quarter. On a broken play, Dwight Howard posted up and muscled Nerlens Noel in the paint for 2. Howard wreaking havoc on the offensive boards. Really great drive-and-drop-off from Maxey to Dwight for an and-1. The first SIxers starter re-enters in Seth Curry with seven minutes left. Full starting lineup back in at 5:45. Really great sequence: Ben Simmons blocks a shot on a close-out, Danny Green saves it to Simmons, who finds Curry for 3 in transition. Sixers up 5 after the first half. Joel Embiid scored 20 points and RJ Barrett went 1-for-11.
3Q: Seth Curry coming alive, scores his 14th point with nine minutes left on a deep 3 with the shot clock expiring. Tobias keeps passing up open 3s. Some over-passing by the Sixers gets bailed out by another Curry 3. Some really nice basketball from the Sixers here, who take a 16-point lead with 5 minutes left in the third. Nice passing, shooters hitting shots. Embiid exits with 24 and 10 with three minutes left in the quarter. Matisse Thybulle first enters the game with 1:30 left in the quarter, instead of Tyrese Maxey. Sixers bench goes crazy when Dwight Howard traps Burks by the sideline. Howard does the Jalen Mills finger wag after an ensuing block. Sixers up 17.
4Q: All-bench unit (Milton, Thubulle, Korkmaz, Scott, Howard) begins the fourth. Zumoff brings up a good point — Doc Rivers should be able to buy his starters a short night here if the bench can hold down the fort, which would be important in the midst of an away back-to-back. Shake got called for ‘an unsportsmanlike technical foul’ for sending an elbow upstairs to Dennis Smith Jr. Strange. Curry appears to have hurt his shoulder with 7:50 left in the game, he stays in. Embiid re-enters. Simmons, too. 11-point game, 7:14 left. Starting lineup back in. Tobias Harris goes to the free throw line with 5:21 left in the game. Some aggressive Simmons play widens the lead to 14 with four minutes left. Sixers empty the bench with about 2 minutes to play.
Final score: 109-89
That’s it! Fine away win by the Sixers. Neither a blowout nor perilously close.
Embiid was mainly excellent on offense, Simmons played great defense, Harris rebounded from a horrible first half with a better second. Seth Curry shot very well, Dwight Howard continued to bring excellent energy off the bench, Mike Scott ran around. Thybulle thawed with some minutes in the second half, Shake had a down game.
Next up for the Sixers is another away contest in Cleveland, Sunday night. We’ll see you then.