Knicks in the 4th: Miss Miss Miss Miss Miss. Philadelphia 119 NY 112

The Knicks were ahead of Philly all night and led 96-95 entering the 4th quarter, when RJ Barrett hit a short jumper to put NY up 98-95. And then the 76’ers went to a zone defense, and the Knicks proceeded to miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss.

“You gotta make shots,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “If you get into the paint, and you spray, you’re getting open shots and you have to make them. ”

Still Thibodeau blamed the Knicks propensity to foul as the main reason for the Knicks loss. “I think the big thing is we fouled too much. Embiid is a great player; Harden is a great player. You can’t reach against them. They’re both very good. They extend their arms. Harden has all the tricks. He’s good at it. If you fall into it.. You can’t foul or appear to foul. It’s not easy, but we’re capable of doing a lot better than we did.”

Meanwhile, James Harden was spreading the floor for Philly in the 4th, and Georges Niang hit all four 3’s that he took in the period.

Final score: Philadelphia 119 NY 112

1. Knicks 4th Quarter: Miss Miss Miss Miss Miss

The misses — or mess — in the 4th looked like this for NY:

Jalen Brunson makes 11-foot two point shot — after all the above misses, Philly was only up 102-100.

But then came this:

Julius Randle makes dunk — Philly 108-102

At this point Philly was up 116-102 — and then came this diddy as Mitchell Robinson did his darndest to help NY score, but the Knicks kept missing:

Philly 116-102 — 3:26 left

Finally, Immanuel Quickley started to get the Knicks points — getting fouled and hitting 1 of 2 free throws, hitting a floater with 2:09 left to make it Philly 116-105, and then a 3 with 1:37 left to make it Philly 119-108.

Way too little, way too late.

2. Mitch Played Well Against Embiid

At the start of the game, Joel Embiid was having his way inside — Mitchell Robinson played him well, but drew fouls. The Knicks brought in Jericho Sims, and he drew fouls.

The refs were calling it close — and both Robinson and Sims had 3 fouls midway thru the 2nd quarter.

It seemed the refs were giving Embiid calls — on one play Mitchell Robinson on defense went for an offensive rebound and tapped the ball into the air; as he went for it — the refs called an offensive foul on Robinson.

On another play Jericho Sims seemed to defend Embiid well, and had his arms straight up in the air — but refs called a foul after Embiid missed the shot inside.

In the 2nd half, Robinson defended Embiid even better, and did not draw fouls. Robinson himself scored 10 points (on 4-5 shooting), ripped down 16 rebounds, and had a +10.

Embiid ended up with 35 points on 12-22 shooting and 10-15 in free throws.

3. Harden Killed the Knicks

As the Knicks and Mitchell Robinson cooled Embiid, James Harden took over. Harden has been playing well against the Knicks since a game against Brooklyn last year when Reggie Miller gave him a pep talk telling him “your an MVP” and to play like one.

Harden was hitting his 3, stealing the ball from Randle, assisting — 7-16 shooting (5-11 from 3), 13 assists, 29 points and a +13.

4. Niang Killed NY from 3

For Philly in the 4th, as NY defended Embiid in the paint, Harden spread the floor, and Georges Niang killed the Knicks with 3’s — hitting all 4 that he took.

“You have to read the ball. If a guy hits a 3 you can’t be slow getting out to him,” said Thibodeau.

Afterwards, Georges Niang made fun of Thibodeau’s defensive strategy, saying “I mean, I don’t know why they were playing in a drop coverage. I probably haven’t seen that since college maybe.”

5. Randle Terrific

Aside from losing the ball to Harden several times in the 4th, Julius Randle was a hero all evening for the Knicks — 12-24 shooting (4-9 from 3; 7-7 in free throws) for 35 points. He attacked the rim, and played like an All Star.

Jalen Brunson added 23 points on 10-19 shooting (2-5 from 3).

RJ Barrett shot poorly — 6-21 (2-6 from 3; 3-4 in free throws) for 17 points. He did have one gem:

6. How to Attack the Zone

Thibodeau got more specific on the Knicks Zone Offense:

“You try to beat the zone down the floor first, get the ball into the paint, make it collapse, attack the zone from behind, utilize your shot fake, pass fake — do all those things. Offensive rebounding — if you’re missing, offensive rebounding should be a huge plus for us. Get into the gaps. We can get the zone to do what we want it to do — but the shooting is a big part of it.”

Thibs also said the Knicks Defense had to be better to counter the zone:

“We need to look at the ball pressure too. We need easy baskets. If we gets stops and get into the open floor, that’s usually when we’re at our best. If you’re getting stops and you’re getting easy baskets in transition, that helps a lot too.”

The Boxscore

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