WATCH: Knicks woes continue as Sixers' T.J. McConnell beats buzzer
Despite Derrick Rose's encouraging return, a clutch shot handed New York its ninth loss in 10 games
Philadelphia 76ers guard T.J. McConnell made a baseline jumper as the buzzer expired against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, giving the Sixers a 98-97 victory and breaking the Knicks' hearts yet again. This was New York's ninth loss in 10 games; after starting the season 14-10, it is now 17-22.
McConnell wouldn't have had his chance to play hero if Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis hadn't airballed a wide-open corner 3-point try on the previous possession. The airball, however, might have something to do with the fact that Porzingis had been on the bench for most of crunch time.
If there's any good news for New York here, it's that Derrick Rose was in the building and played well, at least on offense. Rose finished with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting and five assists in 32 minutes after skipping Monday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans and telling reporters that it was a family issue. Rose, who was fined for the absence, made a clutch jumper and a clutch layup late in the fourth quarter, but also allowed Gerald Henderson to scoot past him and then fouled the Sixers swingman at the rim. Henderson's made free throws set up the final sequence of the game.
If the Knicks, who had a 10-point lead with two and a half minutes left in the game, are falling apart, it's happening at the same time as Philadelphia seems to be coming together. The Sixers have won four of their past five games, and this was the first game since Dec. 20 they didn't lead going into the fourth quarter. McConnell's winner surely won't discourage emerging star Joel Embiid, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds, from continuing to say they can make the playoffs.
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Kobe Bryant, of course, had his 81-point game against Rose and the Raptors back in 2006