After a miserable four-game road trip, the New York Knicks badly needed a win back home at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon. The Sixers did not have New York's needs in mind. They tore through the Knicks with crisp fast break ball and unreasonably hot shooting, leaving New York as surly and conflicted as they found it with a 106-94 win.
Five Sixers cracked double digits in what ended up being a dazzlingly efficient display of offense. Lou Williams and Evan Turner led the team with 28 and 24 points, and both just scorched the Knicks with their shooting. Both guards shook free repeatedly off picks to step into easy jumpers, though even when (rarely) well-defended, both saw little lapse in effectiveness. Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young, meanwhile, thrived in transition and around the rim while Elton Brand crashed the offensive glass and connected on short, low-rise shots as only Elton Brand can.
While the Knicks couldn't do anything to stop the Sixers, they had plenty of trouble keeping their own offense running efficiently. Carmelo Anthony opened the game on fire, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. He didn't convert a field goal the rest of the way, though, and no other Knick stepped up to take his place. Amar'e Stoudemire used too few possessions to have much impact, and Jeremy Lin posted a nightmare shooting line of 5-for-18, picking up his dribble and forcing shots at the worst times.
New York kept it close throughout the first half -- evening leading for a while, actually -- but fell down by two on Williams' buzzer-beating, fall-away jumper. From halftime forward, things fell apart. The Sixers bolted ahead to start the third, then turned to Williams for a preposterous quarter-ending run. He had 12 points in just three and a half minutes to close the period, putting Philadelphia ahead by 16 and well out of reach.
The Knicks, as they do, made a bit of a run (though no real threat) in the fourth quarter, which was only interesting because it came from a lineup without Anthony or Stoudemire. Mike D'Antoni let a semi-bench lineup play a full-court press and cut into the lead a bit, then just let that group finish the rest of the game. This was perhaps a response to criticisms that he'd been abandoning successful lineups in favor of appeasing his stars, but, well, it didn't work, anyway.
New York fell to 18-23 (and loosened their grip on the eighth seed) while the Sixers rose to 25-17 and an even 9-9 on the road with their third consecutive win.