Hughes’ Breakout Performance Wasted in Loss to Philly • Latino Sports


Hughes’ Breakout Performance Wasted in Loss to Philly



NEW YORK – For the first time since joining the Knicks, Larry Hughes turned the Garden jeers into cheers.

But Hughes’ 25 points still couldn’t overcome a dreadful first quarter from New York as visiting Philadelphia staved off a hot second half from the Knicks and Hughes for a 108-103 victory Friday night.  The 76ers led by 22 late in the first half, but the Knicks, led by Hughes, staged a furious comeback in the third quarter before falling short in the final two minutes of the fourth.

 Hughes scored 10 points in the third and finished with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting.  

Although the Knicks got within 81-79 on Nate Robinson’s 3-pointer with about 10 minutes left, they never held the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead — not even after Robinson’s layup with 2:18 left made it 101-99.

“They got back in the game and fought hard,” said Philadelphia point guard Andre Miller of the Knicks’ third quarter surge.

Miller burned the Knicks for 25 points, sharing the game-high with Hughes. He also dished six assists. “Our game plan was to go in to pick and rolls,” Miller said. “They started to hit threes and they played with a lot of energy and effort in the second half. We made our adjustments and finished them off.”  

The Knicks struggled mightily in the opening period, finishing with 11 points – their lowest scoring mark of the season.    

Hughes, who quickly fell out of good graces with Knick fans by shooting 4-for-22 after coming over from Chicago at the trade deadline, had his best game by far with his new team.

“It felt good,” Hughes said. “I knew I just needed some time. It’s tough, though, because we lost.”

The 76ers won all four games with the Knicks this season, sweeping the season series. The last time Philadelphia won the season series with New York was in six games during the 1985-86 season.

“We knew they would come out firing in the second half,” said 76ers head coach Tony DiLeo. “They had momentum and we did a good job. For us that offset three pointers because we are not a three point shooting team. We are an attacking team and sprinkle in some threes.”

Thaddeus Young scored 23 for Philadelphia, which has won two-in-row since ending a four-game losing streak. The Sixers are now 29-28.

“I was pretty sure we were going to pull the game out,” said Sixers forward Andre Iguodala, who added 15 points. “We just had to continue to execute and get one or two stops in a row. They did a good job getting back in the game, but we started knocking down some threes. We were able to get the stops we needed to convert when we needed to.”

Philadelphia’s Samuel Dalembert was a big reason why the Sixers made stops. The 6-11 center pulled down 14 rebounds and played well inside down the stretch. He and Young both had two block shots on the night.  

Knicks guard Nate Robinson said playing catch up is never fun. “That first quarter killed us. We played hard down the stretch. Larry (Hughes) came in and gave us a lot of energy. We played hard, but it wasn’t good enough.”

 Hughes started the second half and promptly knocked down three of four 3-pointers to help the Knicks claw back from a 54-37 deficit. New York cut it to 77-71 going into the fourth.

“Anytime you make a trade, it takes a little bit of adjustment,” explained Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni.

“I just thought he was really good,” added D’Antoni of Hughes. “He’s kind of the guy that we envisioned when we went and got him. We’re just really happy for him. He shot the ball well. His defense, if you watch his defense, he’ll be contagious. You always try and find a bright spot, and that’s definitely a bright spot. We can work on this. We can get a lot better.”

Al Harrington added 23 points for New York and David Lee had 17 with 11 boards.   

The Knicks (23-34) are 1-10 in the first of games on back-to-back nights. They play in Miami on Saturday night.

“We need to come out and play with the same kind of energy we played with in the second half tonight,” Lee said of Saturday’s upcoming matchup with the Heat. “That’s the most frustrating thing about tonight, just like [the loss] against Orlando, is that first quarter. We put ourselves in a hole – down 10 or 15 and then needing to come back like that.”

Notes: New York falls to 1-27 when trailing after three quarters…The Knicks return home on Wednesday, Mar. 4 to face the Atlanta Hawks on Latino Night. 


About Bobby Ciafardini