The Sixers’ six-game road losing streak is over thanks to a 90-87 win Saturday night at Madison Square Garden over the New York Knicks. It was certainly not an easy victory.
Tobias Harris’ three-pointer with 27.7 seconds left gave the Sixers the lead.
T O B I— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 19, 2020
T R I P L E
89-87, good guys. pic.twitter.com/Ssu4rocbI2
Marcus Morris’ heave from near half court at the buzzer to tie the game went off the back rim.
The win moves the Sixers to 28-16 this season and 8-14 on the road.
Here are observations from the game:
The same story for Simmons
Ben Simmons, as he’s made a habit of doing lately, started in attack mode.
Been a New York minute since we've seen a Simmons jam.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 19, 2020
Simmons continuing his jam session from last night against the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/hVo2cFYX1o
He shifted gears very well. He drew two free throws off a Furkan Korkmaz ball screen in the first quarter by picking the right occasion to drive when the Knicks hedged. In the second, he took advantage of the Knicks’ confusion to go right through the heart of their defense.
Empire State Slammin. pic.twitter.com/KLcdROKBAE— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 19, 2020
It probably doesn’t need to be said because he has shown it so often, but Simmons always seems on the verge of a highlight in transition.
Simmons with the steal and slam and promptly high fives a fan in the stands after 😂 pic.twitter.com/efE7xKko0Q— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 19, 2020
Yet again, Simmons was much less effective on offense after halftime and especially so in the fourth quarter, when he was scoreless. He scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half and has now scored 20-plus points in four straight games.
It’s understandable that Simmons isn’t the focal point of the Sixers’ offense in the second half, but the team needs him to be a little more of a threat to score late in games. He was too deferential in the fourth, content to run the called play and then wait for something to happen.
Make no mistake, though: Simmons was the Sixers’ best player Saturday. He had eight assists, no turnovers and two steals.
Furkan’s on fire
Friday night was all about Korkmaz. He scored a career-high 24 points, made six threes and even took a charge in the fourth quarter on the Bulls’ Zach LaVine. His confidence didn’t wear off during the commute to New York.
Korkmaz had eight points in his first stint, dropping in a floater before hitting one three from the right wing and another from the left.
He made his next shot, too, absorbing contact from Allonzo Trier and converting a four-point play early in the third quarter, and he followed that up by running a sharp two-man game with Al Horford and driving smoothly to the rim.
Korkmaz finished with 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting.
They’ll take it …
This was far from the Sixers’ finest performance.
They only managed 38 second-half points, allowing the 11-32 Knicks to stay competitive. Josh Richardson was too careless with the ball, turning it over seven times. Harris shot 5 for 13. New York had 12 offensive rebounds, while the Sixers only had five.
All that said, earning a road victory for the first time since Dec. 23 was important. Heading into Monday’s game in Brooklyn (3 p.m./NBCSP), what matters the most for the Sixers is just that they found a way to win away from Wells Fargo Center.
Scary moment with Horford
Horford went down after being fouled by Reggie Bullock with 6:31 left in the third quarter, and he appeared to be holding his left hand as he went to the bench.
Though Horford didn’t play well in New York (four points on 2 of 9 shooting), a serious injury to the 33-year-old obviously would have been big.
The Sixers are a massive team, but losing Horford would have tested their depth and perhaps forced Simmons to play minutes at center.
Another start for Thybulle
Matisse Thybulle, who started for the third straight game, still regularly makes plays that, as they unfold, are hard to believe.
The speed with which he closed out on Reggie Bullock and swatted his shot early in the third quarter was impressive.
BLOCKED THIS ONE ALL THE WAY TO THE NEXT BOROUGH. pic.twitter.com/NDDyKRyZQz— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 19, 2020
Thybulle has a rookie-high 51 steals and 32 blocks in 36 games.
Two-way player Norvel Pelle was back with the Sixers on Saturday night.
The 26-year-old rookie sure looks like he has NBA skills in his shot blocking and screening and rolling. It will be interesting to see how his situation shakes out.
If nothing else, he is highly entertaining to watch.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.