The Knicks appeared to be cruising at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night – up 17 on the 76ers, who happened to be playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and were also without their best player in Joel Embiid.
Then, the Knicksiest thing ever occurred.
The Sixers began clawing their way back, and, finally, with just 9 seconds left in the game, Jahlil Okafor put them up one with the Knicks set to inbound.
It came down to a final Carmelo Anthony shot. Anthony hit a jumpshot from the baseline to seal the win for the Knicks, who are now just 4.5 games back from the final playoff seed in the East.
“It came down to me making that shot,” Anthony said post-game. “It shouldn’t have came down to that.”
More Triangle For Knicks?
After veering away from utilizing the Triangle offense for the better part of this season, head coach Jeff Hornacek said the team would implement more of it for the final 23 games of the regular season.
“I think part of it was we thought maybe it could help our defense a little bit and get in position a little better,” Hornacek said. “When Derrick [Rose] drives to the basket and we’re stuck in the corners, we’re having a hard time getting out of those corners, and teams are running back on us in transition. We thought the more we run it, you typically have two guys up higher, we should be able to get back better defensively.”
How Many Sixers Does It take To Stop Melo?
Granted they were short-handed (they only had 10 available players), the Sixers threw everything they had at Carmelo Anthony. Dario Saric began the night guarding the Knicks’ forward, followed by Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, and finally Saric and Covington sharing duties in the fourth quarter — and it still wasn’t enough.
Melo finished with 37 points on 15-of-25 shooting, including the game-winner. Post-game, 76ers’ coach Brett Brown pointed out that great offense trumps great defense.
“He’s a handful,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said about Anthony. “He is so intelligent and gifted. … You look at the shot he made with .03 left on the clock, Robert [Covington] is right there.
“That is Melo. He is a gifted isolation scorer.”
Rookie Dario Saric added: “Everybody knows his midrange game is one of the best in the league. We tried, but sometimes you have a superstar like that … you cannot do so much.
“We played good defense on him, but he scored.”
Feature Image via: AP