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Five Figures: Sixers smother Knicks offense

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the New York Knicks 109-89 for Philly’s second win of the season in as many games. For a recap of the game, check out Steve Lipman’s write up. Below, five stats that tell the story of the night.

51.5% at the rim

The Sixers defense held the Knicks offense to 51.5% at the rim for the game, per Cleaning The Glass; meanwhile, nearly half (47%) of the Knicks’ shot attempts came within four feet of the cup. When questioning how the Knicks failed to surpass 90 points, look no further.

NYK Shot Chart

Through two games, the Sixers have held their opponents to 46.8% at the rim — that leads the NBA. I don’t care what the sample size is, sub-50% at the rim is damn impressive. (For context, the Milwaukee Bucks led the NBA in dFG% at the rim last season at 55.1%.) This is the result of 48 minutes of high-level rim protection and if Philly can keep it up, they’ll cruise their way to a top-5 defense.

13.3% FG

Ben Simmons ate RJ Barrett’s lunch, with Barrett going 2 of 15 from the floor (13.3% FG) in the game. Ben wasn’t guarding Barrett on all of his 15 shots, but I’d venture to guess that Simmons was the primary defender on RJ for more than half of his possessions when the two shared the court. Considering that Barrett tied Julius Randle for the Knicks’ team lead in field goal attempts, Simmons’ efforts played a big part in the win. We’ve touched on the Sixers’ ability to protect the rim and if Ben’s going to bring it on the perimeter — sheesh, I feel bad for the offenses of the Eastern Conference.

1.89 points per shot attempt

An effective role player makes the most of limited opportunities. Per Cleaning the Glass, Seth Curry scored 1.89 points per shot attempt. Looking at Curry’s box score, he used 8 field goal attempts to score 17 points, and added 3 assists and a steal. His shooting line was 6 of 8 from the floor, 3 of 4 from 3PT and 2 of 2 from the line. His ability to contribute without doing too much makes him a perfect complement to Simmons and Embiid. Curry looked more comfortable against the Knicks than he did against the Wizards, and I expect he and Joel only continue to build on their chemistry. (Embiid finished with 2 assists. Curry was on the scoring end of both.)

52.6% from the field

Seth Curry wasn’t the only Sixer feeling the scoring touch. The starters combined to shoot 30 of 57 for 52.6% from the field, totaling 82 points between the five. Danny Green was the only starter who did not shoot over 50% FG, and even that was tolerable with each of his six attempts coming from behind the arc and converting two of them. The team needed a big night out of the starting five, with the bench struggling to contribute the way it had in the team’s first game against Washington.

+4 turnover differential

The Sixers limited their turnovers to 12, leading to a +4 turnover differential over the Knicks (16 turnovers). Danny Green came away with 4 steals, the biggest contributor to the Sixers’ 9 steals as a team (although one of his credited steals should probably be attributed to Seth Curry on the books). For the Sixers, their 12 turnovers were largely made up by Ben Simmons, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz, who each had 3 turnovers. Ben’s turnovers were side effects of playing with new teammates and limited training camp, and I don’t expect those same passes to be off the mark a month from now. Shake and Furkan’s, on the other hand, were ugly and unworthy of excuse. Gotta’ learn from them.

The Sixers are a bit above average in the turnover department so far, which is a leap from where they ranked in the Brett Brown years.