Road Trip Begins With Promising Start
It was a grind, but persistence paid off.
Tobias Harris' 3-pointer with 28.2 seconds remaining in regulation proved to be the difference, as the 76ers (28-16) fended off the pesky New York Knicks (11-32), 90-87, Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
The win was the Sixers' third in a row, and halted a six-game road losing streak the same night the club began a stretch of playing seven of nine away from the successful confines of South Philadelphia.
Harris' clutch connection came moments after Marcus Morris Sr. nudged New York in front, 87-86, on a contested elbow jumper. On the Knicks' ensuing possession, it was Harris and Ben Simmons who forced a critical turnover by trapping Julius Randle along the sideline, and getting the Sixers the ball back to essentially ice the game.
Harris finished the evening with 15 points. Four of his five field goals - most importantly the game-winner - came from outside the arc.
Simmons posted a game-high 21 points, to go with seven rebounds and eight assists. Josh Richardson added 18 points (7-15 fg), while Furkan Korkmaz (6-12 fg, 3-7 3fg) pitched in with 17 off the bench.
Early in Saturday's second quarter, the Sixers opened up a 10-point lead, but New York used a 15-5 surge to tie the score at 45-45. The competitive Atlantic Division contest, which featured 11 lead changes and eight ties, wasn't played outside of a seven-point margin the rest of the way.
The Sixers' defense was stout throughout, holding New York to 39.8 shooting and 6-for-25 from 3-point territory. The Knicks, however, managed to keep things close thanks to a strong offensive rebounding effort that resulted in them taking 10 more shots than the Sixers.
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Things Changed When…
Tobias Harris knocked down his decisive 3-pointer to flip the score in the Sixers' favor, 89-87, with 28.2 seconds left.
The game-winning sequence initially got off to a shaky start, as Ben Simmons appeared to lose his footing while preparing to in-bound the ball from the sideline in front of New York's bench.
Harris, however, was able to get wide open thanks to Al Hoford setting a pick at the elbow that forced a Julius Randle switch, and Josh Richardson racing behind Harris after Harris received Simmons' inbounds pass.
Richardson's action seemed to cause Mitchell Robinson to hesitate, resulting in Robinson giving Harris enough space and time to size up his pivotal shot.
Ben Simmons scored at least 20 points for a fourth game in a row, representing a new career-long streak.
A four-point play so nice it required an aerial view.
Furk just being Furk.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 19, 2020
Five days after defeating the Brooklyn Nets by 11 points at The Center, the 76ers will visit Barclays Center Monday for a 3:00 PM Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee.