Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Recap: Knicks 84, Sixers 81

In a showdown between two of the NBA's top four draft picks, it was the New York Knicks getting the best of the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday in a back-and-forth overtime thriller, 84-81.
Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis, who was selected fourth overall by the Knicks on June 25, had just nine points, three rebounds and three assists, but added three blocks, including a timely rejection of Sixers center Jahlil Okafor in overtime.
Okafor, who was picked third overall by Philadelphia last month, had 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the floor and added six rebounds. Tuesday was the 19-year-old's fifth straight game with over 10 points and six rebounds to begin his NBA career.
Undrafted rookie forward Maurice Ndour led New York with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. Second-year guard Cleanthony Early had 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added three assists. Both Ndour and Early scored dunks in the overtime period to put New York ahead.
Scottie Wilbekin scored a game high 26 points for the Sixers on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor and 6-of-8 from 3-point range. The 22-year-old, who went undrafted out of Florida in the 2014 draft, was also 6-of-6 from the free throw line, including three with just one second left in regulation to tie the game.
But, after trailing by as much as 17 in the second quarter, New York slowly chipped away in the second half, even despite 18 second half points from Wilbekin.
With six seconds left in regulation, the Knicks took their biggest lead of the game on two made free throws from Porzingis.
On Philadelphia's last possession, Wilbekin was fouled by Porzingis shooting a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left. Wilbekin hit all three to tie the score at 79-79 and force a two-minute overtime.
After an early overtime dunk by Ndour put New York up by two, Porzingis swatted away an Okafor layup attempt at the basket, resulting in a transition dunk for Early.
Wilbekin responded with a floating jump shot in the paint to cut New York's lead to two with six seconds to play.
After Porzingis hit one of two free throws to bring New York's lead back to three with four seconds left, Wilbekin had yet another chance to save the Sixers.
But after he almost stepped out-of-bounds, Wilbekin's fade-away three from the corner banged off the rim as time expired.
New York (3-0) next plays on Thursday, while Philadelphia (0-3) returns to action Wednesday.

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