The Philadelphia 76ers came into Madison Square Garden energized by two recent convincing victories against winning teams. The Knicks had lost four in a row. Both teams kept their streaks going as the Sixers won, 106-94.
As expected, the Knicks won the half-court game since Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire had a clear advantage on the inside. The Sixers center Nikola Vucevic did not even score. But the Sixers thrived in the transition opportunities created by their better defense and the Knicks' porous defense.
The heroes off the Sixers bench were again Sweet Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young. Williams hit an amazing buzzer-beater to give the Sixers a two-point lead at the half, 51-49. He had to contend with the arms of Tyson Chandler defending him while Iman Shumpert was on the floor at his feet. Then he repeated this with a three-pointer to end the third period.
Most teams have been doubling up on Williams recently to make him pass the ball. But surprisingly the Knicks, who don't play a lot of defense anyway, just kept letting Williams fire away at will. In fact, J. R. Smith several times just backed away from Williams, daring him to shoot. So he took advantage of the opportunities they gave him.
The turning point in what started out to be a close game came at the 3:50 point in the third period. Carmello Anthony committed the unforgivable error of fouling a player shooting a three-pointer. Andre Iguadola hit the foul shot to complete the four-point play, and that pretty much put the Knicks to sleep for the remainder of the game.
The Sixers bench outscored the Knicks, 42-28. Williams finished with 28 and Young had 14. Anthony led the Knicks with 22 and Evan Turner contributed 24 for the Sixers.
So this game helps the Sixers solidify their playoff position, while it puts the Knicks' eighth seed in further jeopardy.
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