Knicks Jump to Big Lead; Extinguish 76er Comeback. NY 110 Philly 96

In the first game after the All Star break, the Knicks played crisp basketball and Bojan Bogdanovic hit 3 after 3 in the 2nd quarter to send the Knicks to a huge 26-point lead.

But Philly came back — playing intense physical defense out of the half, led by catalyst Kyle Lowry in his first game as a 76’er — to pull to within 10 points late in the 3rd quarter and within 6 points early in the 4th. On top of it, Jalen Brunson was not in rhythm offensively — the physical Philly interior defense (including possibly some fouls that weren’t called) causing him to continuously miss his short jumper inside or get stripped for turnovers.

The Knicks regrouped midway through the 4th though, and took the game with tough team defense and clutch shots on offense. Brunson came up with big steals and assists, and hit all of his free throws after drawing fouls against the physical Philly defense, and Donte DiVincenzo hit Clutch 3’s.

In Philadelphia on a Thursday night.

Thibs’ Comments

“We got some good performances in the 1st half from our bench,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Bogey came in gave us a big lift. Josh was terrific start to finish. Donte hit some very timely 3’s. Precious was terrific. Deuce’s defense was a big factor in the 4th. And Jalen — 12 assists — he didn’t have his rhythm offensively shooting the ball but made a lot of good plays. Just find a way to win and that’s what we gotta do; we have to scratch them out right now.”

“The defense was good,” added Thibs. “Low field goal percentage, held their scoring down; the rebounding was good we were a plus there; we got away with the turnover thing we have to cut that down. But when they were going against our set defense we were pretty good and when you do that you’ll be in a position to win. And if we share the ball and make plays for each other the game becomes easy and we’ll find a rhythm.”

NY ends its 4-game losing streak and improves to 34-22. Philly drops to 32-23. They remain without Joel Embiid.

1. Knicks Looked Sharp Early

The Knicks had lost 4 in a row before the break because they were missing most of their players due to injury. The break allowed a lot of guys to heal and in this game Isaiah Hartenstein, Donte DiVincenzo, Jericho Sims, Jalen Brunson, and Bogan Bogdanovic were all suited up.

NY played crisp basketball to start led by the play of Josh Hart and Precious Achiuwa. and Jericho Sims who entered the game 6 minutes into the quarter for Isaiah Hartenstein.

Sims was super active with offensive rebounds, assists, and defensive rebounds and had the dunk of the game late in the quarter.

“Good early activity and effort by Jericho Sims,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “You don’t need plays called for you to have an impact as you can create your own opportunities. Hit the glass, run the floor hard, make extra effort plays and always stay engaged on both ends.”

Hart scored 9 points in the 1st quarter and Precious added 5 on a dunk and a 3 and NY.

Brunson scored a couple of buckets and Alec Burks hit two 3’s late in the quarter to give NY a 32-21 lead.

2. Bogey RED HOT in the 2nd Quarter

And then in the 2nd quarter Bogan Bogdanovic took over. The Knicks were playing good defense and CRISP offense and anytime Bogey got a touch in the corner the ball was away in a flash for another nothing-but-net 3. Bogdanovic went 5 for 5 from 3 and also 2-2 on 2-pt pullups for 20 points in the period.

When Bogey hit a 3 with 1:24 left off a Donte DiVincenzo pass, NY had a 26-pt lead at 67-41.

NY led 69-46 at the half.

“It was huge. It gave us a big cushion,” said Thibs. “Bogey’s shots opened up the floor for us, and that was a big factor in building that lead.”

3. Lowry & Defense Lead Philly Back

But Toronto is coached by Nick Nurse and they weren’t going away. They came out of the half a brand new basketball team — playing intense, physical defense, led by Kyle Lowry that tough son of a bitch who has always killed the Knicks with his disruptive play.

  • Lowry kept knocking down shots on offense and Tyrese Maxey kept breaking free for drives to the basket and Philly kept slicing the lead.
  • A Maxey drive pulled Philly to within 10 at 2:18 left in the 3rd.
  • Bogdanovic hit a Huge 3 from the corner to seemingly stave off the rally and put NY back up 13 with 1:53 left.

The game was getting chippy, with Lowry intent to “muck up the game”, according to Wally Szcerbiak on the broadcast, and the refs started to call fouls.

Brunson finally started getting calls on the offensive end and made his free throws — going 4-4 at the end of the quarter.

But Philly kept coming back — buckets by KJ Martin and Lowry pulled the 76’ers to within 10 entering the 4th.

4. Knicks Take Care of Business in 4th

It got worse for NY:

  • Buddy Hield hit a 3 early in the 4th to pull Philly within 7.
  • Alec Burks was fouled taking a 3 but missed the first 2 free throws before finally hitting one.
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. hit a deuce with 8:52 left and Philly was within 6.

Knicks timeout.

Donte DiVincenzo entered for Burks, and Miles McBride stayed on the floor for his Defense.

  • Out of the timeout, McBride grabbed an offensive rebound off a DiVincenzo 3-pt miss, and swung it back to DiVincenzo who Nailed a 3 on the 2nd chance.

The Knicks defense INTENSIFIED.

  • DiVincenzo hit a big drive and then Precious Achiuwa got a big offensive rebound and tip-in and NY was up 99-88.

“Take advantage when your minutes come and not only earn more minutes but carve out a role,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Precious Achiuwa has done that by rebounding, making himself available on offense, defending, active and does the little things. Also, knows his role, plays to his strengths and competes.”

  • DiVincenzo hit another Huge 3 off a Brunson assist with 5:16 left and NY was back up 14, at 102-88.

NY was back in control.

  • Oubre Jr hit a drive but Josh Hart countered with a 3 off a Brunson assist and NY was up by 15, at 105-90. Tobias Harris hit a drive but
  • Jalen Brunson stole the ball from Maxey, and fed Miles McBride for a dunk and NY was up 107-92 with 2:52 left and essentially ballgame.

The Scoring

  • Brunson finished with 21 pts on 5-18 shooting (0-4 from 3) but 11-11 from the free throw line with 12 assists, 2 steals, and a block for a +20.
  • Josh Hart had 18 pts on 7013 shooting with 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and a +13.
  • Donte DiVincenzo had 16 pts on 6-15 shooting (4-11 from 3) with 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks for a +13.
  • Precious Achiuwa had 18 pts on 7-9 shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block for a +15.
  • Bogdanovic had 22 pts on 8-13 shooting (6-6 from 3).
  • Isiah Hartenstein only played 11 minutes. Jericho Sims finished with 18 minutes — playing terrific ball in the 1st quarter and also later on with terrific defense inside and on the perimeter with his quick feet.

The Boxscore

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