By Sarah Paley
De’Anthony Melton slashed 15 points (5-of-8 FGs), three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and five 3-pointers in Sunday’s win over the Knicks, playing 27 minutes.
Melton made his first five 3-point attempts, giving the 76ers a boost during the first half.
Four of his makes came in the game’s first 24 minutes, and with Philadelphia waiting for Joel Embiid to get going, those shots kept Philly within striking distance of the Knicks.
Also of note was the report during the ABC broadcast that Doc Rivers is open to going to a “small” starting lineup once Tyrese Maxey (foot) is cleared to return, with Tobias Harris (8/6/2 in 37 minutes) sliding down to the power forward spot.
“He kept us in the game,” said Embiid.
“We had a slow start once again. Obviously, they got hot. It was too easy for them as far as they just kept getting whatever they wanted and he kept us in the game and we started getting to the line more often and then from there, we just knew what to do to be able to get the lead and win the game.”
The Sixers shot 51.4% at halftime, but they trailed the Knicks by three because they weren’t able to get enough stops. That’s why Melton’s offense in the first half was essential. While New York was in a groove, and the Sixers had a slow start, they needed the two-way stud to make some needed 3s.
“That’s what he’s here for,” Harden said of Melton.
“He’s extremely great defensively and then offensively, he just makes big-time shots. The last couple games, he had some wide-open shots that he just didn’t make, but one thing about him, he puts in the work. So he’s gonna continue to shoot his shot and today was big for us.”
🗣️ pull up, Melt! pic.twitter.com/PSi43SKlbP
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 25, 2022