The Sixers scored 110 points Wednesday night, nearly nine above their season average. They made nine three-pointers, one more than their combined total for the previous three games.
But the Sixers did not beat the Knicks with their offensive prowess. They did it with defense, a part of their game that too often of late has failed them.
“We locked down,” Evan Turner said after scoring a career-high 34 points in the Sixers' 110-106 win. “We played clean D too. We didn’t try to play football like they tried to play. We tried to play hard. We tried to communicate and once again we just tried to keep making that consistent effort.”
The Knicks made their first four shots of the fourth quarter to build their largest lead of the game at 90-84 with 9:27 to play. The Sixers took a timeout and when they came out, their defense played a significant factor in the Knicks' missing seven straight field goal attempts and 14 of their final 18.
New York shot 36 percent in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our team was good tonight,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers won their sixth game on the road this year. “We played good team defense and we finished it with rebounds. I am happy that we came in here and found a way to get a win.
“It was through our defense. They’ll point to our three-point shooting (64.3 percent), and that we made a point to not turn the ball over (14) and we hit some free throws (17 for 24) and that is all true, but we were able to guard to instigate a large portion of that.”
The Sixers still allow the most points in the league, 109.8 per game. Their opponents' field goal percentage ranks 21st in the 30-team league, while their opponents' three-point percentage ranks 25th.
The Sixers' defense did not make a miraculous turnabout at the Garden Wednesday night; it is just improving.
“We have been putting time in,” Brown said. “The numbers say what the numbers say and I don’t really care, to be honest. I know what work these guys have been putting in and the attention that they give it and we’re trying.
“We are trying to make up for a bunch of areas. Areas where perhaps we are not as loaded up on in regards to legit perimeter defenders and legit interior shot blockers, so everything has to be done by committee and team.”
Brown’s team will host the Toronto Raptors Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.