Knicks' defense good for what ailed Sixers

ASSOCIATED PRESS Andrea Bargnani scores two of his 20 points for Knicks.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Andrea Bargnani scores two of his 20 points for Knicks.
Posted: January 24, 2014

NEW YORK - The defense of the New York Knicks, or lack thereof, was just the remedy the struggling 76ers needed.

Having made just 14 percent of their three-pointers over the previous three games and getting outscored during that time by an average of 103.7 to 87.7, the Sixers enjoyed a virtual offensive blitzkrieg at the expense of the home team, 110-106.

Evan Turner, who had averaged 9.7 points in the previous three games, led the Sixers with a career-high 34 points. He also grabbed 11 rebounds. Michael Carter-Williams collected 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, Thaddeus Young added 19 points and James Anderson 18.

Carmelo Anthony once again paced the Knicks with 28 points.

When the Sixers weren't draining threes, they were able to do a ton of damage in the paint, continuously getting easy buckets around the rim. They finished the night with a 50-26 advantage on points in the paint. New York found its groove early in the fourth, reeling off 10 straight points to begin the stanza and take a 90-84 lead. But the Sixers bounced right back and secured the much-needed win.

"When they get going, they are dangerous," coach Brett Brown said of the Knicks. "Look at their resumes, look at their history in the NBA and look what they've done. Throughout my days in the NBA we've bumped into those guys, wherever they were, and have memories of just fantastic performances that they have had against the Spurs.

"What you see from time to time [is] how good they can be once they get whatever they need to get going together on the same page. They're going through a period right now. They want to fix some things. When they play like that, with the talent and the resumes they have, that makes them very dangerous."

When that will be for the Knicks is anyone's guess, as their inability to play consistent defense was again their undoing.

"We just have to get more guys stepping up [on defense] and making a commitment for 48 minutes," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. "That's what it's all about at the end of the day. If you're talking about staying in the hunt and making the playoffs, every game from this point on is a must-win. Every game is a must-win.

"I'm a coach who has been doing this for a long time. You hear gripes from players, you hear gripes from coaches, inside the organization, outside the organization, you [media] guys. It's all a part of it. At the end of the day, you still have to win games. It doesn't matter what you do [defensively], if you switch pick-and-rolls, if you play zone, you have to do it with pace and you have to do it for 48 minutes."

The Sixers started the game hot, quite uncustomary for them, scoring 33 points in the first quarter while hitting 14 of their 25 shots, including five of their first eight from three-point range.

"I thought our ball movement [was the difference]," said Brown. "We had 12 first-period assists. Any time we can combine pace with sharing, it's a good thing, we have far more of a chance to score. Tonight we happen to shoot threes obviously way better than we had been, that helps. We didn't turn it over [14] and we rebounded [54-39 advantage, including 17 offensive]. I thought that first period set the table where we did a good job of passing."

And then there was Turner turning in a timely performance.

"I saw a really skilled big guard because he was a point guard, he was a 'two' guard, he was a 'three' guard," Brown said. "He goes 3-for-3 from threes. We've been really putting in lots of time so he can add that to his game. He had 11 rebounds and ends up making big shots at big stages of the game and shows an incredible array of skills, a variety of ways that he's able to impact the game."

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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