The New York Knicks werenâ€™t only impressive in the victory over the Philadelphia 76ers to their fans but also the opposition. After a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic, New York bounced back with a superb defensive performance in the first half and matched any offensive firepower Philadelphia sent their way.
However, the most significant differentiating factor was their physicality and aggressiveness. Big man Joel Embiid raved about the Knicks’ physicality, looking somber in his post-game interview regarding his performance.
â€œ[Knicks] were more physical than us. They got whatever they wanted.â€
Even head coach Doc Rivers sang a similar song, as the Knicks posted five more rebounds and one more block than Philly. The muscular version of Mitchell Robinson has played a significant factor in the team’s success to start the year, averaging 10.5 rebounds per game.
â€œIt was the Knicks. It was just physicality,â€ Doc said.
It wasnâ€™t only their physicality, though, as the Knicks displayed a variety of offensive playmakers, ranging from Evan Fournier to Kemba Walker.
â€œClearly theyâ€™re a better offensive team because they have more shot makers. They have more playmakers,â€ Rivers said. â€œThatâ€™s one thing about Kemba and Fournier. Theyâ€™re not just scorers. Theyâ€™re playmakers and the more playmakers you can add to a team, the better. We didnâ€™t have any playmakers tonight.â€
Walker had a stellar performance, showcasing his All-Star level attributes. Over 28 minutes, Walker contributed 19 points, shooting 5-of-11 from three-point range (hit four consecutive at one point in the 4th quarter) and picking up five assists.
When Kemba is knocking down shots, the Knicks have one of the more dangerous teams in basketball. His ability to stifle any Philadelphia momentum was a catalyst in the win, and he will be looking to do something similar against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday evening.