The Knicks collectively built a brickhouse and couldn’t stop the post dominance of Joel Embiid, who posted an NBA-best 21st double double as the Sixers dominated at home to a 117-91 win.
Now that the fun of the 3-game win streak is over courtesy of these abysmal back to back losses to Detroit and now Philly, New York once again has to experiment with the lineup and monitor a few alarming trends.
IS TIMMY HEXED?: While he’s still averaging a team-best 22 points on the year, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been horrific over the last five games. He’s shooting just 29% from the field and the three-point arc. Against Philly, he shot 1/11 in 27 minutes.
We’ve come to expect 2-3 dumb shots per game from Timmy, but lately he’s rushing everything and not reading the defenses, as if expect one Hail Mary bomb will get him going. Coach Fiz needs to remind him that much of his early season success was predicated on the variety of his game in attacking the rim and not chucking.
WEARY LEGS: The defense was shredded inside out by Philly. They had a 41-point opening quarter led by JJ Redick, who hit his first 6 shots and finished with 24 points (4/6 from 3). The post play was no different with Embiid dropping 26 points and nabbing 16 boards.
Deep into the second quarter, Philly was still shooting over 70% and finished at a robust 57% at halftime. They finished the game at that percentage and went 12/25 from downtown (48%).
BRIGHT SPOTS: Damyean Dotson had another solid night and was the only player that lodged significant minutes to have a positive +/- (+5). He played within the offense and shot well (6/11, 16 points). He was also a pest defensively in getting 3 steals.
Kanter battled with Embiid and was our lone inside threat, getting 17 points and six rebounds.
Our struggling rookie Kevin Knox showed signs of life in garbage time. He was less reckless and got better looks, finishing with 9 points and 7 rebounds. I’d like to see him focus on getting more controlled with his drivess — he’s still out of control and throws up desperation heaves hoping for a ref bailout.
THE GUARD LOGJAM: We are in desperate need of a competent PG. We have too many iso scorers and the ball doesn’t get moved. Between Mudiay, Burke and Ntilikina, their total combined assists was 4. And it wasn’t like any of them was lighting up the scoreboard either — Mudiay was 1/5 (3 points), Burke 1/6, (7 points) and Frank another goose egg (0/5).
The shooting guard situation also gets more clogged with Courtney Lee coming back in a few weeks. There’s still more games to be played before deciding who gets shipped, but I expect at least two guys to be gone by the trade deadline.
The Knicks get to lick their wounds for a few days before facing the Bucks at home on Saturday.