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Another ugly, ugly loss for the Sixers at MSG

Much like their loss to the Magic, the Sixers built a huge early lead and watched the Knicks whittle it down in an ugly loss Sunday.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in the last seven days, the Sixers have blown a 21-point first-half lead. The Knicks knocked off the Sixers 108-97 Sunday night behind five double-digit scorers. Julius Randle led the Knicks with 24 points, nine boards, and seven assists, while Joel Embiid led all scorers with 31.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • Some very weird vibes to start this game, as ESPN (seemingly) delayed the tip off as long as possible due to the flag football game they were also airing. Knicks forward RJ Barrett was scratched despite being announced with the starters minutes before the tip off, and P.J. Tucker scored Philly’s first five points.
  • Broadcast nightmare aside, Philly was humming on both sides of the ball from the jump. De’Anthony Melton was a perfect 3 of 3 from downtown, James Harden had the Sixers out and running with his seven first-quarter assists, and Joel Embiid took seven trips to the free throw line en route to an 11-point opening frame.
  • The Knicks on the other hand, really looked like a team on the second half of a back to back. They opened the game shooting just 36 percent from the floor. Still, they ended the quarter on a 12-2 run against the second unit. The Sixers held an 11-point lead at the end of one.

Second Quarter

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Sixers bench did not sustain the large lead built with Embiid on the floor. New York reeled off 17 unanswered points as Doc Rivers made the change from Montrezl Harrell to Paul Reed.
  • The Sixers were able to stop the bleeding shortly after the backup center swap, but this was now a game again after it looked like Philly had a path to an easy blowout.
  • Philly’s offense was pretty stagnant after a scorching first quarter. The Sixers up a 35-point first quarter by shooting 24 percent from the field in the second. The Sixers led by as much as 21 during the first half, but went into the break only leading by two.

Third Quarter

  • The story of the third quarter revolved around the Sixers’ ability to take care of the basketball. They opened the quarter with quite a few flashy passes, Harden was really getting the team up the floor with his long outlet passes.
  • The Sixers weren’t at their sharpest however, as they turned the ball over seven times in the third, allowing the Knicks to hang around. Six of those turnovers came from the duo of Embiid and Harden.
  • Despite the first half troubles, an all-bench lineup was rolled out in the second half. Paul Reed did stay in the backup center minutes for the second half. Philly held just a three-point lead going into the fourth after an Immanuel Quickly floater.

Fourth Quarter

  • A lot of the attention from this game will go to the crazy Embiid on/off splits, but Philly’s offense was lackluster after the first ten minutes of the game. Over the final three quarters, they only scored 62 points on 32.7% shooting, an eerily similar sequence to Monday’s loss to Orlando.
  • Philly was playing all the classics down the stretch as the Knicks killed them on the offensive glass to put the game away. The Sixers surrendered three straight on a possession late that allowed the Knicks to push their lead up to eight and they wouldn't look back. New York won that category 14-8 on the night
  • The Sixers will wrap up this road trip in Boston, when they take on the Celtics at 7:30 on Wednesday night. It will be another pivotal game for seeding as the Sixers are currently 2.5 games behind the Celtics for the one seed, two games back in the loss column.

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