3 takeaways in Knicks’ impressive victory over 76ers to end 15-game streak

knicks, kemba walker

The Knicks walked into Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers having lost their last 15 match-ups. However, they weren’t going to let it continue one-game further, as they overcame the 76ers 112–99.

Philadelphia had scored over 108 points in the first three games of the season but was held to just 99 by the Knicks, thanks to stellar defense in the first half, keeping them to just 42 points.

The second half of the game proved to be a bit more efficient for Philadelphia, but the Knicks matched them in intensity and offensive prowess. Let’s take a look at a few main takeaways from the victory.

Three takeaways for the Knicks in impressive win over 76ers:

1.) The Knicks are capable of overcoming poor defense with electric offense

Head coach Tom Thibodeau will undoubtedly be a bit frustrated with his team’s second-half defensive performance, but the first half made up for it and then some.

Quality offense made their defensive struggles a bit less obvious, despite Georges Niang hitting consistent shots from the left corner unguarded. He finished with 13 points, connecting on 3-of-5 shots from range.

Thibodeau will want to clean up some of those mental mishaps but otherwise will be happy with the performance of his team, given they matched Philadelphia offensively and provided elite defense in the first half. New York shot 47% from the field, 43% from 3-PT range, and 93% from the free-throw line.

2.) Kemba Walker will be a catalyst against better teams

Kemba Walker was an absolute monster for the Knicks in the victory, contributing 19 points and five assists over 28 minutes. When the team originally signed him, they saw an impact playmaker who could change the course of a game, and he did just add against the 76ers. He finished shooting 45.5% from three point range, allowing just one turnover.

Walker’s ability to maintain momentum and match any Philadelphia counters helped the Knicks extensively. His value over Elfrid Payton can’t go understated.

3.) Unslefish Julius is the best version of Julius

Against Orlando, All-Star power forward Julius Randle tried to carry the team on his back when the three-point shots weren’t hitting. Despite him scoring 30 points, he shot just 8-of-24 from the field and 20% from range. Randle tried to force shots in isolation, which ended up stalling the Knicks’ offense, but he did the exact opposite of that against Philadelphia.

Randle contributed 16 points, being outscored by Walker and Evan Fournier. However, he also earned seven assists and 11 rebounds, showcasing his vision and facilitation. When Randle is unselfish and taking high percentage shots, that is when he’s at its best, and usually, it results in victory.

New York Giants: Joe Judge doesn’t dismiss trade deadline activity

new york giants, joe judge

The New York Giants may be an active team before the trade deadline. The question is whether they’ll land on the buying or the selling side of the fence.

Despite coming off a win, the team isn’t in the best position overall. Some of their expected top performers haven’t been up to the standard, and other players have fallen out the lineup through injury. Both factors affect the team’s needs this season, and there’s strong arguments that could be made in favor of the Giants acquiring more talent for this reason.

On the other hand, it looks like this roster rebuild has failed. This trade deadline is one of the first chances the Giants have to move on from it. Most of the arguments that the Giants should sell this deadline revolve around that fact.

Head coach Joe Judge hasn’t said one way or the other what the Giants have in mind headed into it. He gave a “we’ll see” when asked about their deadline plans, in a statement typical of an organization that rarely reveals its hand.

What could the Giants do at the deadline?

If the Giants are selling, there’s a number of players that could move.

Evan Engram, for one, has seemingly hit a low point with the fans this season. The Giants have been steadfast in holding onto Engram rather than moving him, but if they were going to let go, this would be the time to do it.

Jabrill Peppers, despite playing a good game in week 7, has overall had a down season in comparison to previous years. He’s also in the last year of his contract. If the Giants aren’t going to offer a new deal, they could move on from Peppers now to get something from him.

Many of these decisions will depend on whether the staff and front office see something left in this season or not.

Despite a win last Sunday, the Giants are still a 2-5 team facing a tough schedule. Their roster isn’t at its full potential due to injuries, and even in the eyes of optimistic fans, they aren’t where they need to be in their rebuild at this point.

Sure, the Giants can salvage some more wins from this season. But like last year, it’s hard to argue those wins would seriously advance the team. If the Giants buy at the trade deadline, such wins will likely come at the expense of future assets.

If the Giants are a seller at the deadline, it will hurt this season. However, it would accelerate their future progress and help gather assets for when the process starts again in the offseason.

We don’t know just what they’re planning to do, yet. We do know at this point, though, that nothing has been ruled out.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers placed on IR, out for the year

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants have once again lost a key player to an injury. Safety Jabrill Peppers has been placed on injured reserve with a rupture to his ACL, leaving him out for the season. Jabrill is also nursing a high ankle sprain. New York’s defense takes another hit as Jabrill’s season gets cut short.

Jabrill Peppers played this season on his fifth-year option, meaning he is a free agent this upcoming offseason. 2021 was a year Jabrill would like to forget as he saw his playing time decrease significantly before this untimely ending to his season.

What’s next?

With Jabrill Peppers out for the year, the Giants will roll with second-year safety Xavier McKinney as their full-time starter on the backend.

McKinney has started six of seven games this season and played 92% of the team’s defensive stats. Playing as the team’s starting strong safety, Xavier has recorded 32 combined tackles, 5 passes defended, and 2 interceptions. Safe to say the Alabama product is having a breakout season and the Giants are comfortable rolling with McKinney as a full-time starter for the future.

For Jabrill Peppers, the future is far muddier. After being viewed as a true defensive weapon in 2020, Jabrill saw his playing time get slashed in half in 2021 to the point where he was a rotation player on the Giants’ defense. This led to plenty of speculation about Peppers’s future with the Giants. The trade deadline looms large and many believed Jabrill would be on the move momentarily. However, the Giants will be unable to trade Jabrill now as he is placed on IR for the rest of the season.

The Giants’ lack of interest in playing Jabrill this season likely indicates a lack of interest in paying Jabrill this offseason. The Giants’ safety had only been on the field for 58% of the defense’s snaps this season after playing 88% of defensive snaps in 2020. The New York Giants will roll on with Xavier McKinney as their starting safety while Jabrill Peppers heals up and prepares for a critical offseason.

Mike Perry signs multi-fight deal with BKFC

BKFC is back in the news today as they’ve announced a big time signing for their promotion. The promotion officially announced on their Twitter page this afternoon that they’ve signed a multi-fight deal with UFC veteran “Platinum” Mike Perry (14-8 MMA).

Perry said in a press release, “Let’s skip all the formalities! This sport is evolving and I am here to strike fear into the hearts of my competitors! I plan to intimidate the world when I show what a truly skilled combat specialist is capable of with his bare hands.”

Perry continued, “I will dismantle the opposition and reach the glory I have longed for my entire life. I will be crowned king of the streets and king of combat sports! They will make me a Platinum Crown and carry me on the bloody backs of my defeated rivals! I am here to go straight to the top and make anyone think twice about entering my world! BKFC is my world!”

At this time, there is no word on who Perry will face in his BKFC debut. The signing with Bare Knuckle comes on the heels of Perry spending the last five years with the UFC. Overall with the world’s premier MMA organization, Perry went 7-8 in fifteen fights.

After starting his MMA career 11-1, the last few years have been rough for Perry. Perry is just 3-7 in his last ten fights leading up to this signing with BKFC. Bare Knuckle presents Perry with a fresh start and that’s exactly what he wanted.

BKFC signs Mike Perry

The promotion said in a release that they are incredibly excited to add Perry to their expanding roster. BKFC President Dave Feldman had this to say on signing Perry, “We’re thrilled to bring Mike aboard to our vast stable of exciting fighters.”

“Over the last seven years he’s proven to be one of the toughest fighters in mixed martial arts and his skill set along with his aggressive style works very well for our growing international fan base.”

As mentioned, there’s no word yet on who BKFC has in mind for Perry’s first opponent. Word is expected on that within the next couple of weeks. We will likely see Perry debut with Bare Knuckle sometime in early 2022.

PFL CEO slams UFC and Dana White ahead of potential bidding for Kayla Harrison

Tomorrow night, the PFL Championship event is being headlined by the biggest name in the promotion, Kayla Harrison (11-0). The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time defending PFL lightweight champion will look to capture her third championship.

Standing in her way is Taylor Guardado (3-1) who was also perfect in the 2021 PFL season. However, little to no one is giving her a chance to defeat Harrison tomorrow. In fact, most aren’t expecting her to even last a round with Harrison.

Harrison is also fighting the final fight on her PFL contract tomorrow night. Once the championship match is over, all eyes will turn to her free agency. Bellator and the UFC will definitely come calling as Harrison is already one of the best to ever do it.

With Bellator, there’s the potential matchup with Cris Cyborg and with the UFC, there’s the potential fight with the GOAT, Amanda Nunes. The UFC President is very familiar with Harrison, but he issued some advice to Harrison with her free agency looming.

White suggested that Harrison stay in PFL where she can make a lot of money while beating no one of significance. Suggesting that the UFC might be too much. Harrison responded this week saying she will prove to White that she’s the greatest fighter of all time.

PFL CEO Slams UFC

These comments from White caught the eye of PFL CEO Donn Davis. Let’s just say that Davis didn’t take too kindly to the comments from White and told MMA Fighting today that at PFL, the stars are the fighters and not the promoter.

Davis said, “I think that’s what they do in the UFC. They do two things: They try to put fighters down to increase their leverage, and they try to make it all about them and not the fighters. We don’t do that here. We know the fighters are the stars, not the promoter. They forget that. The fighters are the stars, not the promoter.”

Davis went on to say that in the PFL, they just let the fighting do the talking and skip all the politics. In a way, he’s not wrong. When you fight in the PFL, you are controlling your own destiny with the way you fight and if you win, you will advance.

However, there’s also some major drawbacks to this style like losing out on seeing fights that everyone wants to see. A major fight could be derailed if one of the two were to lose in an opening round matchup. On the other hand, that’s an aspect that also makes PFL intriguing.

PFL is doing their part to try and increase the competition level for Harrison. They’ve signed Claressa Shields and Julia Budd in the last year for the lightweight and featherweight division. Harrison has made it clear that her goal is to be the greatest of all time and competition fuels her.

I’m incredibly intrigued to see what happens with Harrison’s free agency. PFL will likely bring forth the most money, however, they won’t bring the best competition given the current landscape. So will Harrison take the money or will she go the route of Michael Chandler and go for legacy? Time will tell.

Islanders’ players thankful for needed rest period as they eye Predators

islanders

The New York Islanders are set to enjoy a healthy rest, playing just one game over the next 10 days. Despite winning their last two games, the Islanders sit at 3-2-1 on the season, losing three of their first four games. This isn’t exactly how they envisioned their start to the new campaign, as they wait patiently for the return of Anders Lee.

However, coming off a 2–0 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, the Islanders haven’t given up a goal in two games, marking an impressive streak for goalie Ilya Sorokin. Sorokin made 42 saves as Josh Bailey, and Matthew Barzal contributed goals in the win over Vegas.

Some might feel as though the team was just beginning to hit their stride, so a lengthy rest might disrupt their momentum. Still, they should return with Lee in the rotation and the majority of their players healthy.

Islanders’ winger Matt Martin stated the team will use the time to rest and recover, per Newday:

“Yeah, it’s definitely weird schedule-wise,” Martin said. “But I think we’ll try to use that time to get some rest and recover. To start the season on this long a road trip is a big challenge, and then a few guys get the flu bug. It’s going around. It gives everyone a chance to reset and get re-energized and focus on the second part of the trip.”

Others agreed that it would be a great opportunity to see family and have a few days to rest their bodies.

“It’ll be nice,” Casey Cizikas said. “I think every guy is excited to get back, see their family, have a few days at home, get the body ready again, get the mind fresh. It’s going to be nice to get back there and have a couple of days to ourselves.”

The Islanders’ next game will be against the Nashville Predators, who have just one less win than New York. However, they do feature Roman Josi, who has seven points on the year, three more than Bailey, the Islanders’ top gun, so far.

New York Jets’ lack of on-field progress disfigures offseason work

New York Jets, Joe Douglas

Trading off the faces of the franchise is working to the New York Jets’ benefit, but the on-field yields have made them impossible to enjoy.

The New York Jets’ most fruitful endeavors of the 2021 season came in Week 6. By perhaps no coincidence, that week of action marked the Jets’ annual bye week.

The 2021-22 NFL playoff bracket was never going to be the primary criteria for judging the Jets’ season. This year’s AFC environment was already packed to the brim with established division favorites: the Jets’ own East division is set to be dominated by a Western New York overlord for the foreseeable future. Tennessee has taken over the South as expected while pleasant surprises have emerged in Cincinnati and Las Vegas.

The wild card picture features expected contenders like the Ravens, Chargers, Browns, and Steelers. In Kansas City, the two-time defending conference champion Chiefs are shockingly fighting for their lives. Asking a two-win team to launch themselves into that conversation, no matter how much they changed during the offseason, was always a very tall ask, one not even worth asking. Appearing in the “in the hunt” column on the postseason charts NFL broadcasters break out around the holidays was probably going to be the best-case scenario for the team.

Nonetheless, there was much to gain in year one of the shared Robert Saleh/Zach Wilson era, the official start of Joe Douglas’ general manager tenture after he installed his own head coach and quarterback. Progress was the name of the game and it would’ve been hard to take steps backward from the final years of the Adam Gase era. The Jets were left in such dire straits from Gase’s two-year watch that there was no way for them to fully fill all the boxes on their offseason checklist, but Douglas did a solid job nonetheless.

But the biggest moves of Douglas’ offseason were done not in the name of the present, but the future. Douglas officially left his mark on the organization through the trade of previous franchise quarterback Sam Darnold, paving the way for Wilson’s arrival. In return for a quarterback with a career 78.6 passer rating and an unforunate injury history, Douglas was able to secure a second and fourth-round pick from the Carolina Panthers. Darnold’s departure came nearly nine months after fellow franchise face Jamal Adams was shipped off to Seattle for each of the Seahawks’ first-round picks over the next two drafts.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

For the time being, Douglas’ deals look like the finest New York-based robbery since Clive Owen and Co.’s heist in Spike Lee’s Inside Man. Adams may have earned his desired big contract but has failed to stop Seattle’s Russell Wilson-free descent. His first playoff experience was a Wild Card disappointment that failed to stop an injured Los Angeles Rams passing tandem of Jared Goff and John Wolford. Seattle’s ugly Monday night loss to New Orleans currently positions the Jets in the eighth slot of the current 2022 draft board, one of the two appearances within the first octology.

Meanwhile, Darnold became instant comedic fuel for those seeking a cheap laugh at the Jets’ expense: as his Panthers started 3-0 (wins coming against the Jets, Saints, and Texans), many were ready to put him in Canton for his services of making Gang Green look even more inept. Carolina has since dropped four in a row, the latest loss being a listless 25-3 defeat at the hands of the lowly Giants. Darnold was benched for de facto XFL MVP P.J. Walker in defeat and the Panthers reportedly remain interested in the services of the burdened Deshaun Watson, a sweepstakes Douglas smartly reclused himself from.

Per Tankathon, the Jets are slated to visit the podium four times over the first 45 selections if the current pace continues. That alone should make the team smile and emerge from the 2021 campaign with good feelings.

Alas, what’s happening on the field makes it absolutely impossible to appreciate the yields off of it.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Jets (1-5) are somehow finding rockier bottoms than those reached under Gase, much like how Gase “accomplished” dubious distinctions Rick Kotite’s doomed groups managed to avoid. New York’s new futility was best personified through their most recent defeat, a 54-13 shellacking at the hands of the New England Patriots.

Few remnants of the New England dynasty linger since Tom Brady flew south, but their monopoly over the Jets is a troubling leftover: of the Patriots’ ten wins earned in the post-Brady era, four have come against the hapless Jets. East Rutherford’ portion of the 2021 meetings was equally ugly, as the Jets failed to visit the end zone in a 25-6 defeat. A week later, they were on the wrong end of a shutout in Denver, the tenth scoreboard blank in the NFL since 2019. Of those no-shows, the Jets have been responsible for three of them.

In further Sunday struggles, the 54 points were the most scored by a Jets opponent since the team let up 56 to those same Patriots in 1979. It was also the eighth time in franchise history that the Jets let up at least 550 yards in a game since opening weekend of the 1998 season. Unlike that overtime thriller in San Francisco, no divisional title/AFC title game appearance awaits at the end.

What New England did on Sunday is what, frankly, the Jets should be doing. Nobody is expecting them to light up the scoreboard on a weekly basis (nor should they) but the Jets’ lack of on-field progress is disturbing. Solace can be gained from the fact that the team is well-set for the future…the elevator ride up the draft board is the sweetest form of gridiron schadenfreude…but it’s hard to get excited when the on-field product suggests that there’s still so much to work on.

Douglas’ drafts have also done little to inspire faith in the draft day rewards. Sure, his primary picks (Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker) have provided a solid foundation for the wall in front of Wilson. But addressing the entire body of work is a new exercise in football frustration and futility.

Take his original class in 2020, for example. Becton has been strong but has spent most of this season on injured reserve (along with sixth-round punter Braden Mann). Nothing more needs to be written about second-round weapon Denzel Mims’ lack of snaps (his 20 on Sunday were a season-best). Jabari Zuniga (3rd) and James Morgan are already gone while Morgan’s fellow fourth-rounders La’Mical Perine and Cameron Clark have united for a single snap this season. While there’s hope for secondary defenders Ashtyn Davis and Bryce Hall, they haven’t made any of the missed opportunities worth forgetting: for example, Jeremy Chinn, Logan Wilson, and Antonio Gibson went within the immediate ten post-Mims picks. The already pointless selection of Morgan is even more bizarre considering Gabriel Davis went to Buffalo three choices later.

It’s great that the Jets have accumulated such valuable draft capital…but does that mean much when the on-field product still wallows in gridiron shame?

Granted, there’s still time for the Jets to come out clean on the other side of this season: arguing about the fates of Saleh and Wilson (who is missing at least the next two weeks with an injury) is pointless: even the Jets won’t be so impatient to give up on them after one year. Another macabre gift has been bestowed in the sense that the Jets’ season is so far gone and already removed from the postseason that they have 11 consequence-free opportunities to stage free research and development for the future, starting with Sunday’s visit from the AFC North leaders from Cincinnati (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Douglas arrived in one of the most thankless jobs in professional sports. To his credit, he’s making the best of it through not only his draft board maneuvering but late summer cuts that have created a professional future for themselves (i.e. Quincy Williams, Ty Johnson). Trading off the franchise faces and his action on the offensive line was refreshing after years of Mike Maccagnan-supervised negligence. To say Douglas has the best intentions would perhaps be the understatement of this young season.

But if good intentions served as championship criteria, everyone would be undefeated.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Derrick Rose points to lack of hustle as catalyst in Knicks’ loss to Orlando

derrick rose, knicks

The New York Knicks had several solid contributors in their most recent loss to the Orlando Magic, but that didn’t make watching the film any more exciting. With the team dropping their first game of the season to a lowly Magic team by a score of 110–104, going through the pain of watching such poor film should reinvigorate them as they prepared to take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday evening.

Derrick Rose detailed the pain of going through the film after the loss to Orlando, per the NY Post:

“Especially when you beat a team like we did the first time, it puts you in kind of a depression type of state where you’re thinking about everything that night. Then waking up, coming in, you dread coming in a little bit after you get your work in. The best thing about it though is everyone communicating while we’re going over film. By the end of film, it’s out [of] your mind. You know how these games come right back-to-back, so you gotta have amnesia and try to execute the game plan for tomorrow’s game.”

Having a bit of amnesia is not a bad concept for a team that must forget about their 27.1% shooting from three-point range and 37% shooting from the field on Sunday night. However, Rose was one of the positive contributors, posting 23 points, three assists, and two steals over 29 minutes. He shot over 50% from the field and connected on 5-of-8 three-point attempts.

Rose pointed to a lack of energy and proactivity as the Knicks’ biggest struggle in the defeat. Jogging and not sprinting back into position played a big part in their demise, which could just be early-season stamina issues, especially with a thin center position.

“When you look at the errors and all that, it’s a time to grow as a team and build chemistry,” Rose said. “You see the breakdowns, you see the jogging back and not sprinting back and all that. It gives you a baseline to see where you’re at and next game, you gotta improve on everything that you did wrong.”

With Tom Thibodeau as head coach, we should expect to see a reinvigorated and aggressive Knicks team, sprinting and displaying 100% energy against Philadelphia. Overcoming the 76ers and bouncing back would show resiliency for a team that has high expectations this season.

What’s next for Paulo Costa after UFC Vegas 41?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 41, we saw a showdown between former title challengers Marvin Vettori (18-5-1) and Paulo Costa (13-2). The fight was supposed to take place at middleweight, but a last minute change saw the fight take place at 205 pounds.

Paulo Costa shocked everyone last week when he said he wouldn’t make weight for UFC Vegas 41. The news caught the UFC off-guard and they were forced to scramble to make the fight happen. Two bout agreements later and they landed on light heavyweight.

Regardless of the outcome of the fight, Paulo Costa was going to come away a loser in the eyes of many in the UFC. He signed to fight at middleweight and then proceeded to agree to a catchweight at 195. After that, he came back and said he couldn’t even do that.

All of this comes on the heels of Costa’s awful performance against Israel Adesanya at UFC 253. Costa blamed his terrible performance on the wine that he had drank the night before to assist him with getting some sleep.

After this round of excuses, Costa agreed to fight Jared Cannonier in August. However, he backed out stating the UFC wasn’t paying him enough. Ultimately, the promotion worked out a deal to have him fight Vettori and then he pulled this on fight week.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 41?

Paulo Costa has not done himself any favors with the UFC in the last 12 months. Prior to UFC 253, he was liked by the promotion and there were no issues in dealing with him. Now, he’s become a headache and major pain to the UFC and Dana White.

Costa lost the fight on Saturday to Vettori and afterwards, Dana White said that Costa will no longer fight at middleweight. From now on, Costa will not be given any contracts at middleweight and the promotion is adding him to light heavyweight.

So, now that Costa has to move up, who should the UFC pair him with? Well, there’s actually a countryman of his that I think would make for the perfect fight. I like the idea of Costa fighting Johnny Walker (18-6) at light heavyweight.

When on, these two have incredibly exciting styles that compliment each other. This would be a great fight for both men and it would generate a lot of fan interest. Perhaps, this could be the first step in mending the relationship between Costa and the UFC.

Knicks: 3 keys to beating the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night

mitchell robinson, knicks

The New York Knicks are looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat to the Orlando Magic on Sunday evening, but the season gets no easier as they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to The Garden on Tuesday evening.

Philadelphia represents a far more superior team compared to Orlando, having lost just one game over their first three contests. Their only loss came against the Brooklyn Nets, scoring a minimum of 109 points to start the year. Their most recent game against the Oklahoma City Thunder went quite well, winning by 12 points and scoring 115.

Stopping the 76ers on offense is a difficult task, so the Knicks will have to be on their game both offensively and defensively to limit Philadelphia. They have several premium scorers, including Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry. I would be remiss not to mention Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey.

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at a few keys for the Knicks to overcome Philadelphia in their fourth game of the year.

Three keys for the Knicks to take down the 76ers:

1.) Elite defense is required

The Knicks can’t allow individual performers to have big games against them. While it is impossible to limit star players completely, they were destroyed by Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross on Sunday against Orlando. The pairing combined for 51 points, and Ross shad all of his production in the fourth quarter to give his team a late lead.

Philadelphia has too many quality players to limit just one, so New York must play elite defense if they want to give themselves an advantage.

Currently, the Knicks rank 12th in defensive rating; they do sit in the top 10 in both steals and blocks, but those two statistics don’t directly correlate to good defense all the time. They need to curate stops and insufficient shooting opportunities for their opposition, something they failed to do against the Magic.

Philadelphia is an elite team with fantastic players, but focusing on limiting Embiid should be their first priority. He is currently averaging 21 points per game and shooting 46.2% from three-point range.

2.) The Knicks MUST hit their 3-PT shots

After the Knicks set a franchise record in their first game against Orlando away, they bounced back with a disappointing performance in the category, hitting just 27% of their attempts. The entire team was off from range as Julius Randle hit two shots from deep on ten attempts. RJ Barrett went 1-for-7, and Evan Fournier was 2-for-7.

The lack of production from beyond the arc lost New York the game, showing a vulnerability. The Knicks can’t identify themselves living by the three-pointer, which is why Randle tried to pick up the slack in isolation, which unfortunately just slowed down the team’s communication and passing opportunities.

Nonetheless, we know they’re capable of being an elite three-pointing shooting team. New York must be more efficient against Philadelphia if they want to have any chance at emerging victorious.

3.) The best version of Julius Randle is needed

Despite Julius Randle posting 30 points against Orlando in their most recent defeat, he shot just 8-of-24 from the field and 20% from three-point range. He needs to hit more shots and be more efficient with his selection, which seemed poor as he tried to do everything himself in the fourth quarter.

When the Knicks are passing efficiently and moving the ball well, there are not many teams that can keep up, so Randle needs to focus on facilitating in addition to scoring. He tallied just three assists, his lowest over the first three games.

In the win over Orlando, Julius posted seven assists and nine against Boston. Clearly, he was off his game on Sunday, but he should bounce back against Philadelphia.

Honorable key:

Dominating the boards is one way the Knicks can hold an advantage, which will require a big game from Mitchell Robinson. The now-muscular center is averaging 12.0 rebounds per game, a number he will need to maintain against a physical Joel Embiid. This is a great opportunity for him to show off his increased strength.