The Knicks continued their downward spiral with a disheartening 106-94 loss to the division-leading Sixers.
Fresh off their recent four-game road skid, the Knicks (18-23) dropped their seventh game in nine contests as they failed to match the intensity of a Sixers (25-17) team that has now won three straight. The win also extended Philadelphia’s Atlantic Division lead to six and a half games over the suddenly-plunging No. 8-seed Knicks.
While the Knicks have been notorious slow starters on matinee games, it was the middle portion of the game that doomed them, as they allowed 6-0, 7-0 and 11-0 runs by Philadelphia in the second and third quarters. The third quarter sunk New York as the Sixers tallied 38 points and stretched the lead to as many as 21 points. Reserve guard Lou Williams led the Sixers with 14 of his game-high 28 points in the quarter.
New York got little to no help from their superstars, as Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire could only muster 22 and nine points, respectively. Anthony shot only 5-of-13, while Stoudemire only shot 4-of-9. The Knicks’ other alleged star, Jeremy Lin, wasn’t much help either as he had only 14 points on a paltry 5-of-18 shooting. Lin added seven assists, but that was cancelled out by his game-high six turnovers.
Tyson Chandler (hamstring/wrist) came back to the lineup after missing two games, but couldn’t help right the ship. Chandler had eight points and a team-high 12 rebounds, but wasn’t a factor as he was constantly in foul trouble.
Up next for the Knicks is a Monday night date in Chicago against the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls.
What went wrong ...
1. Must play must win
The Knicks didn’t treat this game as a must-win situation, as they were erratic for most of the afternoon. The Sixers ran the lead up to as many as 21 points, as the Knicks had a litany of miscues and poor shot choices. The Knicks allowed a plethora of easy transition buckets in the third quarter.
2. Lin-sanity over
The magical dust that was Linsanity has now turned into an insane amount of turnovers, as the first-year starter continued his trend of giving away possessions. Lin, who was averaging almost six turnovers a game, stayed consistent with his learning experience as he aided the Sixers’ cause with a game-high six giveaways.
Lin wasn’t the only well-known Knicks player to have an off day, as superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t help matters much, either. Neither shot the ball well and both were sieves defensively as they were a minus-16 and minus-12 respectively in the all-important points-scored and points-allowed ratio. It should also be noted that when the Knicks finally cut the 21-point deficit to single digits late in the fourth quarter that both Anthony and Stoudemire were seen on the bench.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.