The Philadelphia 76ers are attempting to make the playoffs this year after having the worst record in the NBA the last two seasons. They briefly slipped outside of playoff contention when center Joel Embiid was forced to miss some time with an injury, but they have been able to work their way up the standings thanks to their star player. Despite the recent surge, the 76ers still have a lot of work to do over the final few months if they want to get back to the playoffs. They came one step closer to accomplishing their goal when they defeated the New York Knicks on Monday, February 12.
Philadelphia could not afford to lose on Monday. They were hosting a depleted Knicks team that has consistently struggled on the road all season. The young stars of the 76ers got off to a great start against New York. Everyone in the starting lineup found a way to contribute on offense, which helped the team get a 10-point lead by the end of the opening quarter. Philadelphia was unable to fully capitalize on their great start. They relaxed on defense most of the second quarter, which helped the Knicks shrink the lead down to two points heading into halftime.
Head coach Brett Brown must have invigorated his young team during halftime because the 76ers came out energized for the second half. The dominant swagger they displayed in the first quarter was back to start the third quarter. Philadelphia held a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Unlike the first half, the 76ers increased the defensive pressure when gaining a big lead. Philadelphia’s defensive intensity limited the Knicks to only 13 points in the final quarter. The 76ers ultimately won the game 108-92.
The win over New York on Monday was a complete team effort by Philadelphia. Everyone in the starting lineup scored at least 13 points. Backup point guard T.J. McConnell also provided a big spark off the bench by securing the first triple-double of his career. He also became the first player in 76ers history to get a triple-double while coming off the bench. If the 76ers can get a balanced offensive attack every game, then they will be extremely hard to beat. Philadelphia will look to continue their excellent play when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday, February 14. This will be their final game before the All-star break.