The Knicks looked decent in the first quarter, with some good dribble drives and swing passes that led to open looks from downtown. Sadly, they played slim to no defense and found themselves down 33-26 after the first frame.
Bargnani took advantage of his start and played well on both sides of the ball, scoring 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting with 4 blocks. He took a scary fall in the third quarter but he and his elbow were fine.
Evan Turner was Philly's best player tonight, scoring a career-high 34 points on an efficient 13 of 22 shooting including a late fallaway that put the game on ice.
Melo scored his first points of the evening on a foul shot with 3.6 seconds left in the first. He ended with 28 on 10 of 23 shooting and 7 assists.
The loss extended the team's losing streak to five. Sigh. [/sny-box]
Buhguhguhguhg. Ya know?
0-3 to start the team's eight game homestand. When you lose to the Pacers and Clippers you can make excuses. The Nets and Sixers? Not so easy to rationalize. A really really demoralizing loss.
When you dig yourself a hole early, you rarely have enough to close out a comeback. That was precisely what happened at the Garden this evening, with the Knicks clawing back to take a fourth quarter lead before relinquishing it with slow legs on defense down the stretch.
Despite playing from behind all night, the Knicks battled back and showed some mental toughness tonight. They had me believing they were in that "refuse to lose" mode, but alas, they allowed the Sixers to win with wide open shots on just horrible defense over the final five minutes.
The Knicks got killed on the glass, 54 to 39. At one point in the second quarter Philly had 10 offensive boards while the Knicks had zero.
For good long stretches tonight, the team's offense actually looked sharp. The Knicks used ball movement to get good, open looks from their three point shooters with regularity. Why this team decides to play one-on-one so often is baffling.
For what seemed like the first time this season, the Knicks played well with Melo on the bench in the fourth quarter. The team scored the first 10 points of the fourth, including a ridiculous shot by JR and a 1-on-3 and-1 from THJr.
The defensive remains a game of switch-first, think-second, and the Sixers exploited this all night by getting mismatch after mismatch that led to easy buckets. JR Smith shouldn't be switching to guard Hawes. They are just going to get the ball to Hawes. This is basketball 101, and how this is the same defensive system that Woodson has had in place for the last two years is beyond me.
I waited a looooong time to lose faith in this team, but after tonight, I don't know how much more I have left. A bad team with a superstar is still a bad team. Prove me wrong, please, but I can't pretend I am expecting much from this team anymore.
The Knicks next
loss game is on Friday night when the team hosts the Charlotte Bobcats. MSG @ 7:30pm.