NEW YORK — The Sixers were on the verge of being the reason why the Knicks snapped a dismal eight-game losing streak. Instead, they ramped up their efforts in the fourth quarter to extend the Knicks’ skid.
After trailing by 13 points and down eight after three, the Sixers outscored the Knicks 35-19 in the final 12 minutes to pull off a 118-110 comeback Thursday.
The Sixers still need to clamp down as they approach the playoffs. While they have acknowledged no team can be overlooked, they have to take advantage of matchups against struggling teams to move up in the closely-matched standings. The Knicks now have lost 17 of their last 18 games.
“Some of that I give them [credit]. Some of it, I think, we can't play like that,” Brett Brown said. “There needs to be more of a sense of urgency to trend in the way we want to trend as the exciting part of the season comes closer.”
The Sixers moved up to 37-30 while the Knicks dropped to 24-45.
• Joel Embiid always was listed as available to play, but tape on his left wrist during shootaround and pregame warmups raised questions about his health. Brown did not know the reason for the tape and Embiid did not address the media prior to the game.
Embiid showed he was more than OK to play. He kicked off the night with 13 points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 29. He added 10 rebounds and four assists for his 35th double-double of the season.
• Ben Simmons notched his eighth triple-double: 13 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He passed Magic Johnson for sole place of second for triple-doubles by a rookie. Oscar Robertson holds the record with 26 in 1960-61.
“To be with those names, it's surreal,” Simmons said. “Knowing the games been's played for a long time, so many greats have been through.”
Simmons proved he can be a high-caliber point guard in the NBA, but Brown isn’t locked in on him playing the point his entire career. Brown said before the game he believes Simmons could play some power forward in his career. Simmons' reaction? “Definitely a one, not four,” he said.
• Robert Covington came up big beyond the arc. All 15 of his points were off threes.
• This was a stat-stuffing night: five players (Embiid, Dario Saric, Michael Beasley, Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn) recorded double-doubles while Simmons had the triple-double.
• Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) and Furkan Korkmaz (left foot) remained out. They went through pregame drills seen here:
• Madison Square Garden is a loud arena and Knicks fans are prideful, but that didn’t stop Philadelphia fans from breaking out into a roaring “E-A-G-L-E-S” chant during the game. And, as always, they also yelled “Trust the Process.”