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Philadelphia 76ers: Three observations in loss vs. Knicks

76ers-Knicks Observations

The Philadelphia 76ers took the floor at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night for the second half of a two-game road trip. After picking up a good all-around win against the Thunder in their last game, the same cannot be said for their meeting with the Knicks.

New York busted the game open in the second quarter and never looked back, eventually winning by a final score of 112-99. Here are some observations from the matchup. 

76ers-Knicks Observations

1) Embiid, Curry look mortal 

Joel Embiid and Seth Curry have been on an incredible run to start the season, but Tuesday was not their night. Both players struggled offensively, leaving the rest of the team to take on a large scoring load. 

Embiid managed to finish the game as the Sixers’ second-leading scorer with 14 points, but ten of those points came from the foul line. The All-Star big man shot just 2/7 from the floor, including 0/2 from beyond the arc. New York is one of the few teams with the size and physicality to match Embiid and got the best of the MVP runner-up on Tuesday. 

Curry shot the lights out en route to 29 points on Sunday but could only muster four points against the Knicks. The sharpshooter only made two of his six shot attempts and did not land any of his attempts from deep. 

These two are some of the main focal points of the Sixers’ offense. When they both don’t have it going, things can get ugly in a hurry. 

2) Wrong side of the three-point battle 

Similar to their last game, the three-point shot told the story. Only this time around, it was the 76ers who struggled to find the range. In the end, New York shot close to 20 percentage points higher. 

When the Knicks widened the gap in the second quarter, it was largely because of the deep ball. By the end of the first half, they hit 10 shots from beyond the arc, while the Sixers only managed two. The cold spell from deep drastically hurt the Sixers as they attempted to cut the deficit in the final two quarters. 

Any time the Sixers did land a shot from three, the Knicks quickly answered with one of their own. Combating threes with twos is not a recipe for winning basketball. It is almost impossible to compete in today’s game when one team is hitting a barrage of threes, and the other can’t stop the bleeding or keep pace. 

3) Tobias Harris continues to step up 

One major bright spot for the Sixers in this game was Tobias Harris, who continues to start this season on a high note. He fell just shy of a triple-double Tuesday, posting 23 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. All were team-highs for the game. 

Based on his performance in this matchup, it’s fair to assume Harris might still be holding a grudge towards Julius Randle. He took it to the Knicks forward last season after being snubbed for the All-Star game and did more of the same on Tuesday. Not only did Harris do it all for the 76ers, but he also did a good job defending Randle as well. 

Harris has done a tremendous job build on the career year he had last year. He continues to prove he can be a reliable second option behind Embiid on a nightly basis. If he can keep this up, there’s a chance he might finally land the All-Star nod that has escaped him in recent years.