Vive La France! NY 108 Philadelphia 97

The Knicks spotted Philly a 21-point lead in the 1st quarter, then laid down Defense and spectacular 3-point shooting in the 4th quarter by Frenchman Evan Fournier and American Miles McBride to win convincingly, 108-97, on a Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

American Julius Randle also hit big shots down the stretch to cement the victory.

It came the day after French Heritage Night when Nicolas Batum ruined the Knicks’ good time and robbed them of a win by hitting a 3 to tie the game at the buzzer — resulting in an OT loss and giving the Knicks a savage letdown which may have carried into the first quarter of this game.

But the Knicks should have named it French Heritage Weekend because their Frenchy — Fournier — helped them to the win on this night — forced into playing time when RJ Barrett was announced unavailable due to a non-COVID illness seconds before game start.

“Philly has been playing as well as anyone in the league. And so we knew it would be a big test. It was.” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We started off, got in a hole. I thought our bench came in and gave us a big lift, and when the starters came back they were terrific. It was just a good team win all the way around.”

The Knicks improve to 29-26; Philly falls to 34-18.

1. Barrett Last Second Illness

RJ Barrett had a horrific shooting night the game before although he came alive in the 4th and was a big part of the Knicks’ 18-4 run to close out regulation. Earlier in the day, Kyrie Irving was traded to Dallas — so when it was announced RJ would not be playing seconds before the start of the game, a rumor that RJ had been traded surfaced on Twitter. But he was simply sick at last second, as Brunson had been the game before.

“He went through the walk through, and was in the pregame, and then he just started feeling ill,” said Thibs afterward, and then chuckled. “We didn’t find out until — right before as they were doing the introductions — that’s when we found out.”

2. Bench Starts Comeback

The game was supposed to start at 6pm and was broadcast on ESPN — but those tuning in were confronted by the NFL Pro Bowl tag football game. This had almost all Knick fans wondering when and where the game would be broadcast — even long-time Knick diehard Ben Stiller.

The game finally was broadcast past 6:15 when the Pro Bowl game was over. Those coming back and tuning in late were spared the Knicks falling behind by 21 points early. Some wished the flag football game would be put back on.

But the bench led by Miles McBride, Isaiah Hartenstein, Evan Fournier, and Obi Toppin came in and got the Knicks back in the game and to within 9 points at the end of the 1st quarter.

Then the starters came back and played better and brought NY to within 2 points at the half — Philly 53 NY 51.

3. Fournier and McBride Lead 4th

The Knicks headed into the 4th down 3 points, and were down 5 when Miles McBride hit a big 3 from the corner. An Obi Toppin 3 tied the score at 83.

Evan Fournier hit a step-back 3 to give NY a 4-pt lead.

And Fournier was just getting started. He hit another 3 with 6 minutes left to up the NY lead to 91-84.

Fournier hit ANOTHER 3 with 4:44 left to give NY a 94-88 lead.

Fournier then received a pass from Randle, put the ball on the floor and drove the lane drawing the D and found Miles McBride in the corner who hit Another 3 to give NY a 98-90 lead with 3:22 left.

In between Jalen Brunson was orchestrating the offense

4. Randle Clutch Drives in Stretch

With Philly continuing to battle back — and Joel Embiid getting to the line for points — Julius Randle took it to the basket for two power, Clutch drives in the final minutes of the game and nub any thoughts by Philly to get back into it.

He hit a drive with 2:18 left to give NY a 10-pt lead, and a floater off a drive with 1:48 left to give NY a 104-94 lead.

5. Knicks DEFENSE the Difference

And the Knicks DEFENSE was the difference overall — as they limited Philly to 97 points.

Isaiah Hartenstein was key to the effort — he used his big body and aggressiveness to keep Embiid at bay. Embiid finished with 31 points but on 6-16 shooting (18-19 from the free throw line). Hartenstein had only 2 points but 14 rebounds and a key 4th quarter block in 26 minutes before fouling out. He had a +19.

Jericho Sims started at center and provided his athleticism to the cause — 8 pts and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes. He was in the game late after Hartenstein fouled out, and hit a nice Slam and made several important free throws.

Quentin Grimes did a good job on James Harden — limiting his drives and not fouling him; Harden was 4-11 for 12 points, although he handed out 12 assists.

Miles McBride made a spectacular play in the final minute — as Philly was laying down intense desperate pressure to try and force turnovers — McBride leapt in the air to one-hand snare a Knick pass to him, coming down with his foot just inside the sideline and pass it back to avoid a turnover — an athletic, heads-up play few players make.


The Grammy’s followed the Knicks-Philly game. Knicks.City Award for Best Mis-Heard Lyrics “Vive La France” in a song goes to La Femme in their song “Welcome America” — in which Marlon Magnee salutes America, and Clémence Quélennec counters “Vive La France” — or it sounds like “Vive La France” but is actually “trouver la femme” which means “find the girl” — seen here in a 2017 live performance:

The Boxscore


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