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76ers 117, Knicks 91: “Feels like we’re down 60”

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167 days till ping pong balls

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks followed Tuesday’s butt-ugly loss in Detroit with an assy, never-once-sassy-stuck-in-molassy blowout loss in Philadelphia, 117-91. For nine minutes shit was competitive, till a 39-15 Philadelphia run bridging the first two quarters rendered it straight-up shit. Ain’t no ornate or interesting hook for this one, true believers. You can put all the lipstick you like on a pig, but turn the heat up high enough long enough and the nose knows it’s pork. The Sixers stuck a fork in New York early and cooked them on a steady flame the rest of the game.

Imagine combining Enes Kanter’s offense and Mitchell Robinson’s defense into one player. Nice, right? He still wouldn’t be as good as Joel Embiid. The straw that stirs the Sixer drank was arousing from the jump, leaving defenders grousing at the graceful louse.

Pretty’s pretty, but for every floating butterfly under the sun there’s an equally effective bee sting waiting, baiting chumps to jump. Kanter didn’t lose sight of who he is and what he brings to the floor.

The Sixer dishing led to swishing open look after open look after open look after open look after open look. J.J. Reddick hit his first six.

I misspelled Redick’s name just now. That extra “d” was more D than anyone on the floor brought. Defense as a whole was not a Knick goal.

A Wilson Chandler three-pointer put Philadelphia up 20 in the second. It got worse.

One team was moving the ball and themselves on offense. One was not. The low point of the first half (there were more in the second!) came when Fur-kan Kork-maz (read that in the excited tone of Marv Albert when a relatively unknown player gets in the zone) got in on furking the Knicks.

If a picture’s worth a 1000 words, I’ma shorten this recap up for y’all.

COMEDIAN: “Yeah, the Knicks were pretty bad tonight...”

CROWD: “How bad were they?”

A 20-point halftime deficit ballooned to 30 in the third. Actually, that verbiage isn’t correct. When something “balloons,” it expands significantly. The Knicks were the walking dead from late in the first till the bitter end, so the gap didn’t really balloon. You know how a corpse starts to bloat after a while? That was the second half. A tad more corpse-y. On to the autopsy.

Notes:

  • Earlier today I did a Twitter poll.

A has 60% of the votes so far. Embiid is as good a reason as any why I figured more people would go with B. It’s so easy to fall in love with his scoring, his defense, his rebounding, his social media presence, that you risk underestimating the full breadth of his depth. Know ye this: Embiid had more assists before the first quarter ended than any Knick had all night. I love the young guys on this team. I write no one off. But Jesus Flippin’ Christ! Noah Vonleh and Emmanuel Mudiay are aftershocks, at best. Embiids terraform the world.

  • Mario Hezonja had 17 points tonight. In his past five starts he scored 16 points combined. He had 10 in the first 6 minutes. Naturally, then, he was the first guy subbed out. I’m not smart enough to understand David Fizdale’s rotation math. I remain patient. Perplexed, but patient.
  • You knew Mitchell Robinson would struggle against the best center in the league (I see you, Anthony Davis. Sit down, salutatorian.) Robinson did.

But give the kid credit: his year’s all about the bounce back, not the fall, and he did bounce back with a few good one-on-one defenses of Embiid.

  • Speaking of bounce backs: Kevin Knox brought the energy the moment he checked in to this game, crashing the boards, forcing deflections on D, and busting out some grown-man moves. He didn’t finish most, but the intent was there, and intent is the land between “Yeah, right” and “Yeah, boy!” Nine points and seven rebounds for the rook.
  • Q: What’s the opposite of a turd in the punch bowl?

A: Damyean Dotson, that’s what. Another impressive performance for a guy with more consistency than the Trey Burkes and Hezonjas of the world, despite suffering the short leash one would expect to find curled around the neck of Ron Baker.

  • It is possible for the human brain to occupy two seemingly contradictory thoughts at once. Picture the sun blaring in the night sky. See? It’s not hard. Now let’s take it up a notch: Frank Ntilikina is too young to judge as a finished product, yet at the same time is suffering a miserable stretch of play that is fair to label one of the worst I can recall from a Knick first-round pick. To wit:

The first numbers are Frank’s this year. The second are the rookie year numbers for Mardy Collins.

  • Early in the third Redick absolutely blew by Hezonja from the arc to the rim for a lay-up. The English language was never intended to support the clause ”Reddick absolutely blew by...”
  • Eight points, six rebounds, four assists and a couple of threes for Wilson Chandler. OAKAAKUYOAK
  • Chandler starts for the team with the league’s sixth-best record. Danilo Gallinari starts for the team with the third-best. Meanwhile...
  • If Ntilikina and Robinson were locked in a gym, alone, with a basketball, they still might not get any shots up.
  • At one point in garbage time the Knicks had Dotson (24), Ntilikina (20), Robinson (20), Knox (19) and Allonzo Trier (22) on the floor. Is that the youngest lineup in Knick history?
  • Brett Brown looks like the villain in a movie where Steve Kerr is the hero.
  • Ron Baker is growing a beard, but it’s got substantial gaps in it, gaps large enough for any NBA guard to dribble through...unless that guard is Ron Baker.
  • The fiancee has been binge-watching American Horror Story. She recently finished the season with Lady Gaga and says Ben Simmons looks like her. “The nose. The eyes. The mouth. Everything.”
Karen Kirkendoll
Samantha Baker
  • Late in the game my girl asked “Who’s that on the Sixers?” and I said “Mitch McConnell” without realizing what I said, and she’s like, “His name is Mitch McConnell?” and it was a minute before I remembered he’s T.J. McConnell. They both have turtle-like qualities, in their own ways.
  • From the neck up, T.J. McConnell looks like Max Holden from One Life To Live.

From the neck down, T.J.’s pretty much Mitch McConnell.

Quoth Melo’s Bucket Hat Collection: “Feels like we’re down 60.” The Knicks’ next game is Saturday at home to a Milwaukee team with the league’s second-best record. The bad news? This could get worse before it gets better. The good? Only 165 days between that game and the lottery. Keep your nose to the grind, people.