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Only one team at the MSG
And that was your Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers, showing up in the NY matinée.

Five straight losses for the Knicks, three straight wins for the Sixers (25-17, .595).

If you watched the game (94-106), it didn't take much to understand why.

You had basically a team, a real team, facing a "bunch of strangers", as the immortal Larry Brown would say.

"Play the right way" vs "Play like crap", also.

Of course now it would even too easy to make fun of Knicks' superstars (= Melo and Stoudamire), that watched the whole 4th quarter sitting on the bench, or their whole team, loudly and deservedly booed by the Madison Square Garden crowd.

Luckily I am not a Knicks blogger, so I'll (happily) focus on my team.

Sixers played a solid all around game, with the right mix of intense defense and smart, effective, sometimes spectacular offense - at least for the first 39 minutes. (more after the break)

We got in the passing lanes nicely, piling up steals that led to easy points especially in the second quarter. Iguodala (no surprise) and Turner showed their ability at the defensive end, and finished amazingly many fastbreaks. A pleasure to watch for any fan.

After the break, Turner (13), and Williams (12) simply took over the game
, and the third quarter was closed with a BIG three by Lou (73-89), to respond to another shot from behind the arc by Baron Davis that could have given NY some hope after a terrible quarter.

The Knicks lost (that flash of) momentum and started the fourth with a charge and four missed shots. The boos that were already heard in the third got louder, and Sixers managed (badly) the 77-98 lead until the end.

If there is one thing that left me wondering today is this: after Turned hit two foul shots for the +21 with 8.55 left, Sixers kinda shit in their pants and played some really ugly basketball, scoring just six points in the final eight minutes before Iguodala made a meaningless jumper 20 seconds before the buzzer. Those six points included an extremely lucky bounce on a jumper by Elton Brand. Turnovers & bad shot selection affected our offense - and made me extremely nervous...

Probably another team would have been able to make a serious run in that stretch, but Knicks came short on every play that could have actually threatened our win: an easy layup missed by JR Smith, a three with a good look not converted by Novak, an offensive rebound allowed etc etc.

Whatever, their problem.

We'll just enjoy another nice game by our guys, praise all of them and the coaching staff for coming up big in a big (?) game.

Some bullets to end:

  • one more time Iguodala's defense on Melo was excellent. Melo shot 5/7 in the first, a torrid start, but couldn't get get a bucket for the rest of the game, scoring only from the line and watching the whole 4th.
  • always on this matchup, in the third Iguodala knocked down a three while being fouled by Melo and, hear this, even MADE THE FREE THROW !! A four point play that was perhaps the picture of the game, for both teams/players
  • What did I tell you about the shortened rotation? Meeks seven meaningless minutes, Allen DNP CD....
  • Thaddeus Young was terrific off the bench, we can't say enough about what this kid is doing this year, fantastic season so far. Give credit to coach for finding the right place for him, also
  • really curious to see what we will do now with Spencer Hawes apparently close to make his comeback. I am drooling at the idea of adding a capable passing big man to THIS starting line up with three great ball handlers...
  • speaking of ball handlers, at a point in the fourth Collins went with a line up of Jrue, LW, Ig, ET + Thad at C !!. While is clear that Young as big man is not a solution, I think that the other four guys will play together more often...
  • signs of life from NY native Elton Brand, also, with a couple of smart tip ins over Stoudamire and some solid low post defense. Nice contribution in his hometown
  • Jrue Holiday had a pretty tough game, missing his first NINE shots before making the toughest one, a baseline jumper off an inbound pass with less than a second to play. He did get to the line, though, and knocked down another jumper in the fourth after a hand off by Brand when NY was trying to put together some kind of a run

I'll leave you with a pic worth a thousand words: