Three Takeaways from the Sixers’ 106-104 Loss to the Knicks

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Tyrese Maxey, 76ers
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Tyrese Maxey (0) dribbles the ball past Chicago Bulls Guard Malcolm Hill (14) during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls on February 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

The 76ers played their first game without Joel Embiid and James Harden against the New York Knicks on Friday night. With both teams coming off losses, they looked to rebound in South Philly. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 106-104 behind 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists from Jalen Brunson. New York led at halftime after a sloppy first half. The Sixers took control in the third and early fourth quarter and built a 12-point lead, but the Knicks fought back and were able to steal one at the Wells Fargo Center. Take a look at three takeaways from tonight’s contest:

Mad Maxey runs rampant for the Sixers

With Joel Embiid and James Harden out tonight against the Knicks, a lot of weight was on the shoulders of Tyrese Maxey. One of the lone bright spots, the third-year guard delivered on the offensive end scoring 31 points. Maxey could have had about 10 more points if he got some of the calls the referees missed on his drives.

The young starlet didn’t have it late but, kept being aggressive and didn’t shy away from the moment. Nonetheless, if the Sixers can stay afloat while they deal with Harden’s injury, it will be because of Maxey’s continued improvement. Maxey continues to show he can be a main piece of a team and a potential all-star this season.

What Are We Doing Doc?

Head Coach Doc Rivers has been under plenty of scrutiny during the Sixers’ slow start to the season. Some of his coaching decisions and lineups have been questioned by media and fans alike. Tonight, Rivers had some questionable lineup decisions, which contributed to the loss.

Even though all signs led to Paul Reed being the backup center, he has been playing Montrezl Harrell. With Joel Embiid out Harrell started, while Reed came off the bench. Harrell was good offensively but the Sixers built their biggest leads when Paul Reed was on the court affecting the game on the defensive end. 

Rivers also decided to play both Harrell and Reed late in the 4th quarter together when the Knicks were small with Julies Randle at center. A questionable decision that led to the Sixers relinquishing the lead for good on an Obi Toppin three-pointer. Who knows if it is really true, but it feels like Rivers’ seat is getting hotter and hotter.

Blow the Whistle!

The referees in this game were just all-around terrible. Their bad class affected both the Sixers and the Knicks and contributed to a sloppy game. Tyrese Maxey should have gone to the line at least 4-5 more times than he did but wasn’t rewarded for his fearless attack of the rim. In games like this, the Sixers and the coaching has to be much better so they can overcome bad refs.

Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)