Knicks takeaways from 119-112 Christmas Day loss to the 76ers, including fourth quarter slump

December 25, 2022;  New York, New York, USA;  Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) dribbles past New York Knicks center Jericho Sims (45) during the first half at Madison Square Garden.

December 25, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) dribbles past New York Knicks center Jericho Sims (45) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sport

The Knicks struggled in the fourth quarter and dropped their third straight game, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas Day, 119-112.

Here are the highlights…

– The Knicks build an early 10-4 lead over the Sixers on two Julius Randle three points and Jalen Brunson connected with Quentin Grimes on a backdoor cut out for easy two-handed hitting. RJ Barrett he made his first shot from beyond the arc and two carries later, Randle hit his third 3-pointer of the day to make it 28-16 with 4:29 left in the first quarter. New York finished the quarter with 11 assists and zero turnovers to build a 37-25 lead over the 76ers. Randle had 13 points in the quarter, while Brunson had 10 plus four assists.

– With the stopwatch running low, Emanuel Quickley found Barrett’s for three, but Philly’s James Harden he came right back with a three to cut New York’s lead to 10 points. Tobit Harris marked in and forced Tom Thibodeau call timeout as the Knicks led 40-32 with 7:18 left in the quarter. The two teams continued to trade buckets, as Grimes made his first three of the day to push the Knicks back up to 10.

Jericho Sims entered the game for Mitchell Robinson after picking up his third foul, when Sims grabbed an offensive backboard and dunked it to give the Knicks a 54-44 lead with less than three minutes left in the first half. After Philadelphia Joel Embiid hit two free throws to cut the Knicks lead to four, Randle scored on a leaner and was fouled, while completing the play from three-point range.

Shake Milton he got his Christmas present and hit a shot from over halfcourt at the buzzer as the 76ers outscored the Knicks 35-26 in the second quarter, but still trailed 63-60 at halftime. Randle led the Knicks with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting as he tied for the most points scored on Christmas Day in 25 years, according to the broadcast. Brunson had 10 points and added six assists, while Barrett had 11 points and five rebounds. Embiid beat the Sixers by 16 points, while Harden had 11 and De’Antonio Melton cut into 12 points.

Harden stole a bad pass from Robinson and hit an uncontested three-pointer, but Randle found Brunson in the corner for sets on his next possession to put the Knicks up 83-78 midway through the quarter. Barrett worked his way to the basket to put it in, though Embiid scored on the next two carries to cut the Knicks’ lead to five and give him 14 points in the fourth and 30 on the game. Brunson got his 10th assist of the day when Sims was down for a two-handed dunk Montrezl Harrell to put the Knicks up 93-88. Harden and Quickley then traded threes as time ran out and New York held on to lead 96-95 after the third.

– Harden connected with George Niang for a 3-pointer to give the 76ers their first lead of the game, 101-98, with 10:37 left in the game. Niang caught fire, making straight threes to put the Sixers up eight. Philly continued to dominate the fourth quarter, outscoring New York 21-6 to go up 116-102 with less than five minutes left.

The Knicks cut the Sixers’ lead to seven with under a minute left, but it was too little too late. Randle finished with 35 points in a losing effort, Brunson finished with 23 points and 11 assists, and Barrett had 17 on just 6-of-21 shooting. Embiid and Harden took over in the second half, finishing with 35 points and 29 points, respectively.


What’s next

The Knicks travel to Dallas and tackle Luca Doncic and the Mavericks on Tuesdays at 8:30pm

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