76ers es­cape with vic­tory over Knicks

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW YORK >> Ben Sim­mons backed up his tough talk with a big day.

Sim­mons had 20 points, 22 re­bounds and nine as­sists, and the Phil­a­del­phia 76ers beat the New York Knicks 108-105 on Sun­day.

Joel Em­biid scored 26 points for the Six­ers, who were com­ing off a 123-121 home loss against At­lanta on Fri­day night. JJ Redick added 22 points, and Jimmy But­ler fin­ished with 16.

Sim­mons called his team “too soft” af­ter the loss to the lowly Hawks. He an­swered his own chal­lenge with a pair of big plays late in the fourth quar­ter against New York.

The Knicks pulled within two on rookie Kevin Knox’s 3-pointer with 3:02 left, but Sim­mons pulled down an of­fen­sive re­bound and fed Redick for a key jumper.

A de­fen­sive re­bound for Sim­mons set up Redick’s two foul shots with 20 sec­onds left, lift­ing Phil­a­del­phia to a 106-98 lead.

“I thought es­pe­cially the of­fen­sive re­bound at the end of the game that led to JJ’s 3, I thought

that was the game,” Six­ers coach Brett Brown said. “They made it close at the end, but I thought his over­all per­for­mance was dom­i­nant.”

New York’s Em­manuel Mu­diay missed a po­ten­tial game-ty­ing 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Knox had ca­reer-high 31 points for the Knicks, who have lost four straight and 19 of 22. Luke Kor­net had a ca­reer-best 23 points.

At 19 years, 155 days, Knox be­came the six­thy­oungest player in NBA his­tory to score 30 points in a game, join­ing Kobe Bryant, Devin Booker, Jaren Jack­son Jr., Kevin Du­rant and Le­Bron James.

“Those are some leg­endary play­ers,” Knox said. “There’s a lot of other play­ers on that list, but it just shows the work (I’m) putting in is pay­ing off. Those are some great guys (to share) com­pany with.”

New York trailed by as many as 24 points in the sec­ond quar­ter, but closed to 83-82 on Kor­net’s bas­ket with 11 sec­onds left in the third.

The 76ers re­sponded in the fourth, be­gin­ning the quar­ter with an 11-0 run. Sim­mons capped the spurt by find­ing a driv­ing But­ler for a layup that made it 9482 with 6:22 left.

“We have to lock down on de­fense and of­fen­sively take care of the ball,” Sim­mons said. “I think that’s re­ally it. Ev­ery­body needs to be locked in.”

HOME SWEET HOME? >> New York has lost eight in a row at Madi­son Square Gar­den. The Knicks’ last home win was Dec. 1 over Mil­wau­kee. COM­ING UP >> Five of the Six­ers’ next six games are against teams com­pet­ing

for a play­off spot. They host Min­nesota on Tues­day night, and then visit In­di­ana on Thurs­day. They play Ok­la­homa City, Hous­ton and San An­to­nio dur­ing a three-game home­s­tand be­gin­ning on Satur­day against the Thun­der.

“I’m ex­cited,” Em­biid said. “We’re go­ing to see how good we are and how good we can be­come or how bad we are. The next three weeks are go­ing to shape our sea­son.”

TIP-INS >> 76ers: Em­biid also had eight re­bounds and blocked six shots in his re­turn to the lineup af­ter miss­ing the loss to At­lanta.

Em­biid was side­lined by left an­kle sore­ness . ... It was Phil­a­del­phia’s sev­enth straight win over the Knicks.

Knicks: G Tim Har­d­away Jr. was side­lined by a left ham­string in­jury. He got hurt dur­ing Fri­day night’s 121-106 loss to At­lanta . ... C Enes Kan­ter was held out due to what coach David Fiz­dale de­scribed as “flu­like symp­toms.” ... G Frank Nti­lik­ina played 28 min­utes af­ter miss­ing his last three games due to a sprained left an­kle. He had eight points and six as­sists . ... Mu­diay scored 19 points in 28 min­utes off the bench.

SETH WENIG — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New York Knicks’ Kevin Knox, left, de­fends Phil­a­del­phia 76ers’ Jimmy But­ler dur­ing the first half of Sun­day’s game in New York.

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