New York Knicks 76ers
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Knicks drop their seventh game in a row as the defense continues to struggle. New York’s backcourt struggled as the Sixers shined.

  • New York Knicks 92 (23-35)
  • Philadelphia 76ers 108 (29-25)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

The New York Knicks were outclassed by the youthful and energetic 76ers. Jeff Hornacek tinkered with the lineup by inserting Lance Thomas in place of Courtney Lee. This was in an attempt to try and mitigate the effect of Ben Simmons, but this move didn’t seem to work. The Knicks allowed 31 points in the first quarter. It’s becoming a common theme for the Knicks to fall behind early and spend the entire game playing catch up. Tonight was no different.

New York’s offense was expected to struggle a bit without superstar Kristaps Porzingis, but their defense has put them in a precarious position in their last three games. The Knicks move to 1-9 without KP this season. That doesn’t bode well for this team going forward. It’s becoming clear that they don’t have enough firepower to go down early in every game and fight back late.

While the Knicks two young guards, Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay showed some promise at times against the Pacers, they looked all out of sorts tonight. Ntilikina was held scoreless and Mudiay only managed seven points on seven shots.

Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to struggle and he was noticeably frustrated tonight. He was an atrocious 0-for-8 from three-point range. He has only hit nine of his last 54 shots from deep. No one needs the All-Star Break more than THJ right now. Hopefully, he can use the time off to get out of this funk because he is a much better player than he is showing right now.

For the Sixers, the guard play led the way to victory. Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons contributed in a variety of ways tonight. He finished the game with 13 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals, and three blocks, but he was overshadowed by the diminutive Knick-killer T.J. McConnell. The scrappy guard from Arizona recorded a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, and not to mention six steals. He was all over the place tonight and was the proverbial thorn in New York’s side.

If you’re looking for some positives in this game, you’re going to need to squint a little bit and look at the box score in just the right light. Enes Kanter recorded his seventh straight double-double (he sat out last night’s game due to injury). The team is struggling mightily, but Kanter is still giving it his all night in and night out. Despite his deficiencies, it’s hard not to like his work ethic.

Michael Beasley was another positive from tonight as he scored 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting. The problem was he was one of the only guys who could produce offensively and he was clearly gassed late in the game. He played a season-high 39 minutes tonight.

The Knicks return home and look to knock off the Washington Wizards. Regardless of what happens Wednesday night, the All-Star Break couldn’t be coming at a better time for Jeff Hornacek and his squad.

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