CREDIT SIXERS ZONE FOR LOCKDOWN DEFENSE IN LAST 2 WINS!

By Tommy Matthews

The Sixers have won their last two games against quality opponents — the Clips last Friday night and the Knicks on Christmas — by locking down their defense late in the game.

The Knicks, particularly Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, got whatever they wanted in isolation for long stretches of the game.

PJ Tucker, who was brought in primarily to bolster the defense, was consistently dusted off the dribble by Randle, who scored 35 points.

As The Athletic points out, the Sixers settled on a zone defense that slowed the Knicks down in a 16-point fourth quarter.

The Sixers are playing zone on 6.5 percent of their defensive possessions, the sixth-most in the league, according to Synergy Sports.

It’s a strategy Doc Rivers has leaned on when the man-to-man defense has looked a step slow.

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