The New York Knicks pulled out their second straight win over the Philadelphia 76ers this season with a 103-96 victory on Monday night. The Sixers, who were without Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle (and, of course, Ben Simmons) put up a valiant fight, but ultimately the Knicks proved to be just a little too tough to topple. Julius Randle led the way for New York with 31 points and 12 rebounds, and R.J. Barrett added 15 points and 10 rebounds of his own.
Furkan Korkmaz led the way for Philadelphia with 19 points, while six other Sixers players also scored in double figures. New York’s defense held the Sixers to just 38 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from long range — well below their season averages. The outcome of the contest might have been different if Embiid or Harris were available for Philadelphia, but the Knicks can only compete against the players out on the floor, and they took care of business.
The two teams will face off against each other two more times this season, with meetings scheduled in late February and early March. The Sixers will have to win both of those games if they hope to tie the season series. Before moving forward in the season though, here’s a look at three key takeaways from New York’s win over Philadelphia on Monday night.
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1. Randle found his range
Julius Randle has been struggling a bit from long-range early this season. Heading into the game against the Sixers, he had converted just 33 percent of his 5.6 long-range attempts per game — nothing to write home about. He found his range on Monday night, though. In Philadelphia, Randle shot an extremely respectable 50 percent from long range, as he knocked down five of his ten attempts from beyond the arc. His five made 3-pointers were the most that he’s connected on in any game so far this season.
Randle’s makes were timely, too. He sank this one with just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after the Sixers had cut New York’s lead to three:
When Randle is hitting his 3-pointers at a high clip, he becomes extremely difficult to defend. The fact that he was able to do so on Monday night was a big factor in New York’s victory.
Andre Drummond started in place of Joel Embiid against the Knicks, and he certainly made the most of his minutes when it comes to crashing the glass. In 38 minutes of action, Drummond grabbed 25 rebounds (eight of them offensive), which is the most by a player in a game this season. It’s also the most that a Sixers player has had in a game since Charles Barkley matched that number in March of 1987.
Yes, that means that Drummond just had more rebounds in a Sixers uniform than Embiid ever has. Pretty impressive. The Sixers weren’t able to walk away with the win, but Drummond’s efforts on the glass should be applauded nonetheless.
3. Injuries continue to hamper Noel
Knicks center Nerlens Noel has been hampered by injury issues early this season, and that trend continued on Monday night. Noel missed all of New York’s preseason slate and the first seven games of the regular season with hamstring and knee soreness. He made his debut last week and played in three games prior to the contest against Philadelphia. Noel was originally listed as questionable for the game against the Sixers due to lower back soreness before being ultimately cleared to play. The big man logged 12 minutes of action but left the game after Sixers guard Danny Green fell into his knee in the second quarter. Noel exited the game after that and didn’t return. You can see the play where the contact occurred below:
At halftime, the Knicks ruled him out with a sore right knee.
In his 12 minutes, Noel scored six points and grabbed two rebounds. The severity of his injury isn’t known at this point, but it’s obviously something that Knicks fans will want to keep an eye on.