These Knicks, man. Not even 24 hours after suffering an absolute dagger to the soul in an overtime loss to the Clippers, they suited up once again to face the scalding-hot Philadelphia 76ers. These same Sixers embarrassed the Knicks on Christmas day. They have an MVP candidate in center Joel Embiid, and New York is missing their starting center, of course. To make matters worse, RJ Barrett had to sit out the game with a virus. The storm clouds were looming.
And the rain, sleet, and hail came pouring down from the MSG rafters from the opening tip. The Sixers dominated New York’s starters early, building a 21-point lead in the first quarter. You could certainly forgive the Knicks for tapping out early as they went to their bench.
If these Knicks have one demonstrated one positive trait this season, it’s resilience. They aren’t the most talented group in the league. They execute horribly late in games, especially when holding a lead. But they compete. And they don’t quit. The oft-maligned Miles McBride and the oft-banished Evan Fournier keyed a quick run to bring the Knicks back in the second quarter. The game remained tight through three quarters as Deuce and Evan checked in yet again.
What happened next was one of the most unlikely fourth quarters in a season full of them. Not only did Deuce and Evan dominate the Sixers’ bench yet again, Thibs kept them in when Philly returned their starters. The result was a dominating fourth quarter from the good guys. Check out the defense (with some great help from Isaiah Hartenstein):
Easy to forget plays like this, but this one felt huge in the moment. Awesome job from Deuce to dig down and disrupt Harden on the spin. Then, Hartenstein's physicality helping cause the shot clock violation. Great defensive stand. pic.twitter.com/wxVn0Qua1S— Tom Piccolo (@Tom_Piccolo) February 6, 2023
Deuce scored 14 points in the game, hitting three triples.
EVAN FINDS DEUCE FOR THE 3!! pic.twitter.com/lwxEmexGnE— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 6, 2023
Fournier did even better, hitting five threes on his way to 17 points.
17 for Fournier off the bench!! pic.twitter.com/N0aZI0EU25— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 6, 2023
With RJ out, with Immanuel Quickley struggling mightily, and with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle shooting a notch or two below their usual levels, the McBride/Fournier duo helped the Knicks to their most unlikely win of the season, 108-97. What a wild ride!