The Sixers erased an ugly first half Friday night to take down the New York Knicks 119-108. Joel Embiid dropped 35 and 11 while Tyrese Maxey snapped out of his slump, dropping 27 points on 74.2 percent true shooting.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- New York started the game off shooting the lights out, led by Jalen Brunson who made his first five shots and dropped 20 in the first. Between the Villanova support and the fans who made the trip down, the Knicks support in the building was noticeable.
- Doc Rivers called an early timeout that the Sixers responded to by ripping off a 7-0 run. They got their offense by having Embiid roll to the rim. Philly scored 22 points in the paint in the opening quarter.
Embiid had 15 in the first but the Sixers trailed by eight.
- The Sixers as a team are just having too many mental lapses, and it’s easy to see how it’s killing them in games. They surrendered three offensive rebounds not due to positioning, but due to everyone watching the ball come off the rim. They gifted the Knicks a basket by turning the ball over twice in the last eight seconds of the quarter.
- Some rotation tweaks! Paul Reed was given the first crack at backup center, and Danuel House Jr. saw the floor for the first time in a week, though likely just to cover Matisse Thybulle’s minutes. Despite the pregame surprise, Jalen McDaniels did not get any run.
- Paul Reed didn’t have a great first shift, both of his fouls resulted in and-ones that were momentum killing, but just his presence back there is an upgrade over Montrezl Harrell, just his ability to stay in front of anyone is noticeable.
- The all-bench minutes weren’t a complete disaster due to a hot stretch from Tyrese Maxey, who has been in a bit of a funk as of late. Maxey’s 13 first-half points kept the Sixers hanging around despite not being able to get consistent stops.
It feels like the all-bench lineup's success is solely contingent on Tyrese Maxey's success. He's been very good tonight so they're not getting crushed. https://t.co/9JjsbprSR0— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) February 11, 2023
- The Sixers’ defense in the first half, like it has been the last week or so, was not good, but after failing to score 100 points in their previous two games, the offense has felt really out of sync. Sixers not named Joel Embiid shot 39 percent from the floor in the first half as they went into the break down by six.
- To start the game it was Brunson, but to start the second half it was Julius Randle who got into a rhythm. He scored 15 of his 30 in the third as the Knicks pushed their lead to double digits.
- The Sixers finally got some momentum when Maxey made a three off a stolen inbound pass. That sequence sparked a 13-0 Sixers run that saw them take their first lead of the game.
- Philly’s success in the quarter boiled down to the Maxey-Embiid two man game. Embiid had another scoring surge, putting up 13 in the third. He was absurdly efficient, shooting 13 of 16 through three quarters, but two missed free throws at the end of the quarter, allowing the Knicks to hold on to a one-point lead entering the fourth.
- The second unit that started the fourth quarter really benefitted from James Harden being out there, but it was Maxey who extended the Sixers’ lead with Embiid on the bench. Maxey had especially been struggling from deep the past two weeks, but tonight he was 5 of 8 from downtown.
- Georges Niang was another shooter who came up really big for Philly down the stretch. He shot 3 of 5 from three on the night and 2 of 3 in the fourth quarter, finishing with 13 points and six rebounds. Both Niang and Tobias Harris did a good job cutting off the weak side, and their teammates found them under the hoop for an easy layup.
- The Sixers won’t have any time to think about this one, as they head up to Brooklyn to take on the Nets tomorrow at 6 p.m.