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Knicks get off to scorching start, Sixers never show life in embarrassing loss

The Knicks shot the lights out in the first half to build a big lead, but the Sixers couldn’t take advantage when they cooled off in a brutal loss Friday.

New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

This game was Webster’s definition of an ass-kicking.

The Sixers got destroyed 128-92 as the New York Knicks and their fans turned the Wells Fargo Center into Madison Square Garden South Friday night.

Joel Embiid finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds, as fighting for that streak was the only thing on the line late in the game. Tyrese Maxey had 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting.

Jalen Brunson led the way for New York with 30 points, shooting 11-of-20 from the field as the Knicks had seven different players score in double figures.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • The Sixers’ offense opened the game at a pretty fast pace, creating plenty of transition opportunities off misses. The Knicks only turned the ball over twice in the first, but the Sixers managed to have an 8-2 edge in fast-break points halfway through the quarter.
  • Their offense in the half court however, was less inspiring to start the game. They just weren’t going through a ton of actions except for trying to screen Embiid open at the block. He had 10 in the first, but Isaiah Hartenstein had an easier job squaring him up as the quarter went on.
  • After a cold start to the game, the Knicks ended the first on an absolute heater. Miles McBride led the way as New York made seven three-pointers in the quarter. McBride accounted for four of those himself. They ended the quarter on a 14-4 run, taking a four-point lead after one.

Second Quarter

  • OG Anunoby started the game off really well defending Maxey, who was hunting for swimming touches a lot to get his shots off. That didn’t stop Anunoby from losing a shoe when Maxey crossed him over, getting Paul Reed a wide-open jump shot in the process. That was just about the only highlight for Philly in this half.
  • The Sixers’ defense continued to get torched on the perimeter, this time from a much more expected source. Jalen Brunson ripped off 16 second-quarter points. Save for one time where he was stripped by Jaden Springer, Brunson was able to get whatever he wanted.
  • It was not just a Brunson problem, however. Philadelphia’s defensive effort just wasn’t there all quarter. They allowed 45 points on 57% shooting, and it wasn’t just hot outside shooting. The Knicks repeatedly got good looks in the paint as the quarter wore on. They only allowed New York to grab four offensive rebounds, but were beaten 18-4 in second-chance points in the half.
  • Offensively, the Sixers’ half was just about the complete opposite of New York’s. They shot 33% from deep where the Knicks shot 62%. They got crushed on volume as well, they only got up 12 where New York put up 21. Sixers not named Embiid or Maxey shot 6-of-17 from the floor in the half as they went into the break trailing by 20.

Third Quarter

  • It almost looked like the Sixers were pressing too hard coming out of the half, because they had a ton of miscommunications which led to breakdowns to start the third. It looked they went zone for a possession just so they knew where each other were on the court.
  • As they looked for answers on defense, Embiid remained their main source of offense. He scored or assisted 15 of Philly’s 21 points in the third quarter. Their offense looked especially one dimensional when Embiid anchored a lineup with Springer, Patrick Beverley, Danuel House and Marcus Morris.
  • The Sixers finally cobbled some stops together. They held the Knicks scoreless for nearly five-and-a-half minutes towards the end of the quarter. They hardly fared any better putting up points during this time, and went into the fourth quarter trailing by 17.

Fourth Quarter

  • After having one of his best games of the season, Tobias Harris followed it up with one of his worst. He ended up with only 5 points, shooting 2-of-6 from the floor in 24 minutes of action before being ruled out with left ankle soreness.
  • It’s not surprising tonight was the earliest Nick Nurse has brought Embiid back into the fourth quarter so far this season. He checked in for Reed after just 2:05 of second-half action. The reason of course was because the Sixers were running out of time for a comeback, but Reed ended his shift by missing an ugly jumper and a silly foul on Quentin Grimes.
  • After a three from Grimes pushed the lead back over 20, Nurse slowly begun to waive the white flag, subbing in KJ Martin for Nico Batum. Things only snowballed as Embiid tried to keep his 30-point streak alive. He got stripped by Brunson after falling asleep at the wheel, then got his hook shot blocked by Hartenstein the next trip down the floor, helping the Knicks stretch their lead over 30.
  • The Sixers will have the chance to rebound tomorrow. They’re back in action to take on the Utah Jazz at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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