The New York Knicks dominated the Philadelphia 76ers 128-92 on Friday night, winning their third straight game since trading for forward OG Anunoby. Led by 30 points from Jalen Brunson and 25 from Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks led wire-to-wire for a decisive 36-point victory.
Brunson and Quickley Lead Balanced Knicks Attack
Brunson was efficient in running the Knicks offense, shooting 11/16 from the field while dishing out 7 assists. Meanwhile, Quickley provided a spark off the bench by hitting 6 three-pointers on 9 attempts. Julius Randle also contributed 21 points.
The Knicks shared the ball extremely well, finishing with 34 assists on 47 made field goals. Their ball movement and perimeter shooting were too much for the Sixers to handle, as the Knicks shot 55.3% from the field and 48.5% from three.
Embiid Struggles as Sixers Collapse in Second Half
On the other side, Joel Embiid finished with 14 points on just 5/16 shooting. He clearly wasn’t 100% healthy, laboring through 33 minutes after missing the last two games with foot soreness. Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 15 points.
Philadelphia simply had no answers defensively and quickly fell behind by 20+ points in the second quarter. The Sixers allowed a whopping 79 points in the first half. While they showed a bit of life to start the 3rd quarter, cutting the lead to 14, the Knicks soon regained control with an 11-0 run. By the midway point of the 4th quarter, both teams had emptied their benches.
Anunoby Trade Paying Immediate Dividends for Knicks
The Knicks offense has looked rejuvenated since adding OG Anunoby in a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. Anunoby gives New York an athletic wing defender and capable three-point shooter next to Randle and Brunson.
While Anunoby rested on Friday night, the Knicks continued to show improved ball movement and perimeter shooting. New additions Josh Hart and Cam Reddish again provided quality minutes off the bench, combining for 17 points in relief roles.
If Anunoby meshes well with the current rotation, the Knicks could be poised to make noise in the playoffs. They currently sit at 21-18, good for 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Meanwhile, the Sixers dropped to 23-15 and 3rd place with the loss.
What This Means Going Forward
Clearly, the Knicks have newfound confidence and chemistry since shaking up their roster. With Brunson continuing his All-Star caliber play and Randle reverting back to his 2021 form, New York looks dangerous. They should contend for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
For the Sixers, this loss raises concerns about their status as contenders in the East. Beyond Embiid and Maxey, they lack consistent scoring options and perimeter shooting. Unless their supporting cast steps up quickly, another early playoff exit could be in store for star-crossed Philly.
The two teams face off again on February 27th in New York. If tonight was any indication, that rematch at Madison Square Garden could get ugly for the Sixers.
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