Sixers put brakes on two-game skid with vic­tory over Knicks

Centre Daily Times - - Sports - BY KEITH POM­PEY

NEW YORK

The 76ers fi­nally got back to win­ning an ex­pected breather game.

They de­feated the New York Knicks, 108-105, in Sun­day’s mati­nee at Madi­son Square Gar­den. The Sixers (28-16) were com­ing off losses to two other strug­gling squads, the At­lanta Hawks (Fri­day) and Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards (Wed­nes­day).

“It was great to get a win,” coach Brett Brown said. “Es­pe­cially af­ter the past two games, it was good to back on track.”

Ben Sim­mons had a huge hand in the out­come. The 6-foot-10, 240-pounder ex­celled as the start­ing point guard and backup power for­ward on this day. The 2017-18 rookie of the year came one as­sist shy of his eighth triple-dou­ble of the sea­son.

Sim­mons had a ca­reer­high 22 re­bounds to go with 20 points and nine as­sists. He made 10 of 13 shots. His high­lights were a turn­around jumper and an al­ley­oop dunk.

The Aus­tralian got a step on Mario He­zonja in the paint and caught a one­handed al­ley-oop dunk on a pass from T. J. McCon­nell with 3 min­utes, 53 sec­onds left in the first quar­ter. Then he swished an 11-foot turnover jumper over Lance Thomas with 6:42 left in the half.

“I’m just try­ing to get bet­ter,” said Sim­mons, who had been re­luc­tant to shoot the jumper.

He helped to clinch the vic­tory with an of­fen­sive re­bound with his team cling­ing to five-point lead with 1:21 to play. His board led to JJ Redick’s 3-pointer to make it a 104-96 game 13 sec­onds later.

“I think just that’s me mak­ing an em­pha­sis on re­bound­ing the ball and get­ting to the rim,” he said of his ca­reer high.

Joel Em­biid had a teamhigh 26 points to go with eight re­bounds and a sea­son-high six blocked shots af­ter miss­ing Fri­day’s game with a sore right an­kle. Redick added 22 points, while Jimmy But­ler had 16.

Knicks swing­man Kevin Knox fin­ished with a game­high 31 points. But the rookie couldn’t stop New York (10-33) from los­ing its fourth-straight game and for the 12th time in the last 13 games. Sun­day’s con­test marked the fourth of five straight games against los­ing teams for the Sixers.

They in­tended to use these con­tests as a con­fi­dence­boost for a tough 12-game stretch that be­gins Thurs­day at In­di­ana. The Sixers’ fi­nal tune-up comes Tues­day night against Min­nesota at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter.

That game will be a must­see con­test. But­ler will face the squad that, at his wish, traded him to Philly.

While they won Sun­day, the Sixers still have some work to do. They kept let­ting the Knicks the back into the game be­fore es­cap­ing with a three-point win.

SETH WENIG AP

Philadel­phia 76ers’ Joel Em­biid, right, puts up a shot against the Knicks Sun­day in New York. The Knicks won 108-105.

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