Can’t Win ‘Em All. Philly 119 NY 108

Philly hit their shots down the stretch, and the Knicks didn’t hit enough — resulting in the 76’ers pulling away in the final minute to win by 11.

RJ Barrett‘s finger roll with 1:53 left would have put NY down by 1 point — but it rolled out — and Joel Embiid made a jumper-and-one in the lane down the other end to give Philly a 7-pt lead. NY turned the ball over, and Tyrese Maxey hit a 3 and it was lights out for NY.

On a Friday night in Philadelphia.

It tied the season series between the two teams. The Knicks just beat Philly last week and have played them well all season, but … can’t win ’em all.

“For 3 quarters it was really good, and then at the start of the 4th we missed some bunnies and we missed some wide open shots, and that put them in transition,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “They got going; we didn’t cover that 3-pt line; we didn’t rebound, and then we missed some shots in the paint that — I thought we made good decisions early in the game; we shot 53% for the game — spraying the ball out. We missed some shots too — wide-open shots.”

“The start of the 4th hurt us, and then we didn’t close the way we needed to close,” summarized Thibodeau.

NY falls to 20-27; Philly improves to 35-19.

1. Knicks and Brunson Started Red Hot

Jalen Brunson started out the game RED HOT — scoring 20 points in the 1st quarter, and leading the Knicks to an early 20-7 lead.

Earlier in the day, three injury replacements to the All Star Game were announced — and Brunson was not named. Instead Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam and Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox were named as replacements for the injured Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson.

Brunson was penetrating the lane at will for short jumpers or layups; putting on an F-You-for-Not-Putting-Me-In-All-Star-Game Show.

Philly pulled back to within 8 at the end of the 1st quarter.

2. Randle & Barrett Had Strong Games

RJ Barrett had a strong, efficient game despite the missed finger roll near the end: 19 pts on 7-16 shooting, 3-5 from 3, and 2-3 in free throws in 30 minutes.

Barrett also guarded James Harden for a good part of the evening and did a decent job — playing him straight up and keeping his arms high at all times when Harden drove inside so as not to draw a foul. Harden had 20 points on 7-17 shooting (2-8 from 3).

Julius Randle had another All Star night: 30 pts on 11-20 shooting (5-11 from 3; 3-3 in free throws), with 10 rebounds and 3 assists.

3. Knicks Needed to Hit More Shots in 4th

The Knicks lost because they simply didn’t hit enough shots down the stretch. NY led by a point entering the 4th, but at the start of the period Philly deployed a zone defense and:

  • Barrett missed a jumper
  • McBride missed a jumper
  • Hartenstein made a drive
  • McBride missed a 3
  • Barrett missed a 3

and NY was down 5.

Quentin Grimes was 0-4 from 3 — 3-7 overall for 6 pts in 37 minutes — and Obi Toppin 0-3 from 3 — so that didn’t help.

Immanuel Quickley went 1-4 from 3, but 5-8 overall for 13 points in 29 minutes.

Meanwhile Tyrese Maxey killed the Knicks — coming off Philly’s bench for 27 pts on 9-16 shooting (5-8 from 3) and a game-high +27.

4. Embiid a Tough Cover

Joel Embiid was as usual a tough cover — 14-18 from the floor and 7-10 in free throws. It was up to Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims to guard him. Embiid had gotten to line so many times last week the Knick centers were clearly trying to guard him without drawing the foul — and they did a better job — but the consequence was his high field goal pct; he had 35 pts but only a +7.

Mitchell Robinson remains out after the thumb surgery; they could have used him against Embiid.

5. Hart Arrives

This was the first game since the Knicks traded Cam Reddish for Josh Hart — Hart did not play but will be drawing minutes as part of the rotation; it will be interesting to see who loses minutes. Miles McBride only played 9 minutes in this game, and Barrett’s minutes were reduced to 30. Grimes played 37; Quickley 29 minutes.

Hart is a defensive and rebounding maniac and Thibs suggested he may play some power forward. Hart averaged 14 ppg last year but lost his starting position this year as he was shooting only 30 percent from 3.

But Hart brings intensity and that is what Thibodeau wants in his players.

“When you’re on the road against a good team, your margin for error is small,” offered Thibodeau after the game. “You have to execute for 48 minutes; you have to play hard for 48 minutes. And often times it’s a hustle play — we’re not going to be perfect — if you make a mistake, hustle and don’t give up the points.”


During the evening it came across the twitter wire that Portland coach Chauncey Billups said that Cam Reddish would be starting. That seemed to be making a loud statement of Portland’s trust in Reddish.

The Portland game started after the Knick game; Reddish played 17 minutes and scored 11 points on 4-7 shooting (2-5 from 3). Portland was winning entering the 4th but the high scoring Oklahoma City Thunder beat them 138-129. Reddish did not play in the 4th.

The Boxscore



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