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Knicks 94, 76ers 88: The Knicks sure did beat the Sixers

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Closest game of the pre-season so far.

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks were able to outpace the 76ers in the early going. Despite some laziness in the second half, Carmelo Anthony bullied his way through a stretch of buckets to keep Philadelphia off balance. Fed up with some ugly basketball, Derek Fisher made a wholesale substitution and that mostly took care of business the rest of the way.

For the third time in three games, a Knick opponent was kamikaze from three point land (8-39, 20.5%). Eventually they'll find a team that can bury you under a landslide of open looks. Until that time, Derrick Williams and company will squirt around and find the open looks the defense gives them. Undefeated is always fun. Let's hope they can keep it going Friday against Robert Randolph and the Boston Celtics. How about some notations?

- Derrick Williams, back-to-back game balls for you, big buddy! A little less pristine than it felt against Washington, but just as garish. This go round he served up 21 points on 12 shots in 25 minutes. Made both of his three-balls, and all three of his free throws. Got some dunkaroos and popped into many an open space where the jumpers were flowing or the roll to the rim was smart and aggressive. Really nice stuff that you probably shouldn't expect him to maintain on such a high level.

The 24-year old forward is not a standout in any one specific skill. Often times he is so wobbly on his way around the court, you just assume everything is bound to go exceptionally wrong. His six turnovers were probably a testament to that. I can think of at least one that should have been a beautiful assist if his teammate didn't have fumble fingers. Nevertheless a quiet sextet for Williams, and he did some real nice things that more than made up for it.

- The guy in front of Derrick in the rotation is some palooka named Carmelo Anthony. I've never heard of him either. Philly's only legit NBA starter tonight was Robert Covington, and he kinda dug into this Anthony fella for a while. He launched a couple of bombs that pulled the defense out to his chest and it really started to frustrate Melo. After a few possessions with Flintstone feet, Carmelo started to find some soft spots in Covington's game. Give credit where it's due, though. Robert Covington made a monster scorer who has been hotter than James Dolan's breath sweat it out for a while and force the issue.

At one point Carmelo had 13 consecutive points for the Knicks as they struggled to find any cohesion in the second half. Derek Fisher rightly disbarred the starters for this poor performance and brought in a completely new five-man unit. It didn't feel like a situation where Fisher considered this his pre-season test kitchen either. The starting unit was not getting it done and the Sixers, who were down double digits through much of the first half, cut it to five.

- Loved Carmelo's rimless leapfrog flush. Hot stuff.

- Jerian Grant led the way and controlled the tempo, knowing when to push, when to set up. That's innate. That's the stuff that has kept a guy like Jose Calderon in the league for years. A guy that can really manage a game can have a long career. As soon as he puts it all together, he's probably the best lead guard New York can put out there. Still needs to add some tools, namely perimeter shooting and not getting lost in defensive schemes.

Jerian breaks the Triangle quite a bit. But if it's because he sees an advantage or a way to create a mismatch, I say live and let die.

- Christian Wood looks like Josh Childress, Eddie Griffin and Anthony Randolph squished into a new, different skinny guy. I wonder what the over/under on his longevity in the league is.

- Robin Lopez came out scorching. He hit his first four shots and pummeled the offensive glass. He really has outstanding timing. Human ramrod and has legitimate skill protecting the rim. Love it.

- Cleanthony Early? More like Clankeverything Always, am I right? Cle just couldn't get it going tonight, and it's starting to be worrisome. Is this more than a trend here? I'd like to think not, but there are some very smelly doubts wafting around this situation. From wide open junkers, to passes bopping him in the numbers and casually traipsing away, I'm running on excuse-fumes here. I'll throw you a bone, though. Nice steal and dish.

- Lou Amundson shoots some of his free throws with his momentum pulling down while he flicks his wrist up. He missed some of his free throws.

- Welcome to Broadway Sasha Vujacic! Your first role is as Jonathan Ames in "Bored to Absolute Death of You Taking Every Shot and Lazily Switching Screens". This ain't Hollywood, babe. I'm fed up.

- Knicks yell "push" instead of "ice". Always bucking the trend.

That's really it. A preseason game without Kristaps Porzingis against the Philadephia 76ers is like a 2014-15 regular season game. Whatevs.