Here are some takeaways and best and worst awards from the 76ers' 131-109 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
- It’s no secret that Joel Embiid is putting up MVP-caliber numbers — he can do that even on nights when he isn’t playing that well. He bounced back from a disappointing game in San Antonio and showed off his repertoire of skills against the Knicks, including a bevy of fakes, shakes, and eurosteps down low.
- The Sixers bench is thin this season and has had trouble, often outscored by the competition. Wednesday, the bench was alive and outscored the Knicks bench, 54-29, including a career-high 17 points from Landry Shamet. The Sixers will need their bench to rack up more games like this to make it through the regular season without overextending the starters.
- Ben Simmons notched his 16th career triple-double (fourth this season) but was not pleased with himself after the game. This could be seen as Simmons' being too hard on himself, but to his teammates, it is a positive sign that Simmons nitpicks his game. He’s not satisfied by an empty triple-double, and his recognition of mistakes and room for improvement is encouraging for the Sixers.
- It has to be nice to Brett Brown to look at a box score after a game and see that Embiid played only a little more than 25 minutes. JJ Redick played just about the same amount of time, and that’s the kind of minutes distribution the Sixers are going to need especially against subpar teams, as the starters need all the rest they can get.
Best performance: Jimmy Butler was aggressive right out of the gate on both ends of the floor and had the best all-around game of the night, finishing with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting and going 8-for-10 from the free throw line. He also notched four rebounds, four assists, and three steals, with zero turnovers.
Worst performance: Enes Kanter usually is problematic for the Sixers, but he was largely ineffective Wednesday. He entered the game averaging 4.3 offensive rebounds but couldn’t grab a single one all night. He finished with 15 points, but took only eight shots and was quiet on the boards.
Best defensive performance: While this was a good defensive outing for the entire Sixers rotation, T.J. McConnell provided a defensive boost in the second half that catapulted the Sixers. He had multiple deflections on inbounds plays and in half-court sets and finished the night with two steals and three defensive rebounds, and was a plus-13 off the bench.
Worst statistic: It’s easy to note the worst statistic on the losing team but it’s worth noting that despite JJ Redick’s notching his 10,000th career point, he was 1-for-4 from three-point range, continuing his recent slump. Over the last seven games, Redick is shooting just 28.6 percent from three.
Best statistic: The Sixers went 22-for-25 from the free-throw line. Not only is that good for 88 percent, but it also shows that the team wasn’t shying away from contact and was aggressive getting to the basket.