76ers, Knicks meet again in intriguing series (Mar 03, 2017)
The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, both amid dismal seasons, tend to bring out the best in each other.
They meet for the third time this year on Friday in Philadelphia, after seeing their two earlier games come down to the wire.
The Sixers (22-38) prevailed 98-97 on Jan. 11, on a jumper at the buzzer by second-year point guard T.J. McConnell, while the Knicks (25-36) outlasted Philadelphia 110-109 on Carmelo Anthony’s jumper with 0.3 of a second left on Feb. 25.
The Knicks won for the second time in three games Wednesday night in Orlando, 101-90, as Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 points after missing the two previous games with a sprained right ankle. Derrick Rose added 19, and Anthony contributed 17 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who kept their flickering playoff hopes alive.
With 21 games left, the Knicks are four out of the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final postseason spot.
“Anything can happen,” Anthony told the New York Daily News. “We’re still playing for something. We have the mindset to make something happen.”
Rose, who had been the subject of trade rumors leading up to last Thursday’s deadline, concurred.
“I was on a Bulls team that didn’t make the playoffs until game 82,” he told the Daily News. “There’s still a lot of time left.”
The Sixers announced Wednesday that rookie center Joel Embiid, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, will miss the rest of the season with a bone bruise and meniscus tear in his left knee. He suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly following a dunk against Portland on Jan. 20. Before Wednesday’s announcement he had missed 14 straight games, and 17 of 18.
His only appearance in that stretch came Jan. 27, in a nationally televised game against Houston.
The team previously announced that forward Ben Simmons, the top pick in the 2016 draft, will miss the entire season after breaking his right foot in training camp.
After Wednesday’s announcement the Sixers lost 125-98 in Miami. It was their fourth straight defeat, and matched their most one-sided loss of the season, a 122-95 defeat at Toronto on Nov. 28.
Miami knocked down 54.4 percent of its shots, including 43.3-percent 3-point sniping.
“That’s not who we are,” coach Brett Brown told Philly.com. “I give Miami credit. They exposed us individually, our ability to guard them. That type of result has not been us.”
Forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington have been carrying the bulk of the scoring load lately. Saric, a rookie from Croatia, is averaging 18.6 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last 10 games, and 11.3 and 6.2, respectively, overall.
Saric was named Eastern Conference rookie of the month for February.
Covington, who led the Sixers with 19 points Wednesday, is averaging 17 points over his last 10 games, as well as 7.4 rebounds. He scores at a 12.3 points-per-game clip overall.
Philadelphia guard Gerald Henderson did not play in the second half Wednesday because of a bad hip. His status for Friday’s game is not yet known.
The Vertical reported that the Sixers are poised to sign forward Justin Harper to a 10-day contract. The 6-foot-10 Harper averaged 16.2 points and seven rebounds in 37 games with the L.A. D-Fenders of the NBA Development League.