PHILADELPHIA (AP) James Anderson had the ball in his hands and a rare Philadelphia win within reach.
All Anderson had to do was throw a simple pass to Thaddeus Young in the corner for a 3-point attempt, and the Sixers would have at least had a shot at a tie.
Maybe a win.
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And then a sorely needed postgame celebration.
Anderson, instead, simply fumbled the pass, watched the ball hit the line and bounce out of bounds.
The 76ers have truly fumbled their way toward the wrong kind of NBA history.
Amare Stoudemire had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony scored 21 and the New York Knicks won their eighth straight game, 93-92 over Philadelphia on Friday night, sending the Sixers to their 23rd straight loss.
The Sixers have matched the Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) for the second-longest single-season losing streak in NBA history.
The Cleveland Cavaliers set the record of 26 consecutive losses in the 2010-11 season.
Inside the locker room, the Sixers insist they are not getting used to losing.
”Hell no,” guard Tony Wroten said. ”I’m never used to losing. I speak for the team, too. There’s no such thing as getting used to losing. I never come into a game talking about, `Oh, we’re going to lose, let’s just play.”’
The Sixers (15-54) would have to pull off an upset to avoid tying the record.
Up next, three straight road games starting Saturday at Chicago, then San Antonio and Houston. If the Sixers lose all three, the potential record 27th loss would come March 29 vs. Detroit.
The Sixers last won on Jan. 29 on former guard Evan Turner’s buzzer-beater at Boston.
With 8.6 seconds left and the Sixers down 92-90, Anderson took the inbound pass from just past midcourt, drove down the low post and mishandled the ball as he tried to kick it to an open Young, and it bounced out of bounds.
”Somebody grabbed me on the arm and it kind of came out funny,” Anderson said. ”That’s why it came up short. It happened. There was no call. But that’s how the game goes.”
After Anthony hit 1 of 2 free throws, Michael Carter-Williams missed the tying 3-point attempt, and a putback at the buzzer made no difference in ending the streak.
Tyson Chandler had 17 points for the Knicks, who are suddenly charging for a playoff spot.
”We’ve put together a nice streak,” Chandler said.
Carter-Williams, one of the few bright spots this season, led Philly with 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Young hit a 3-pointer with 32.5 seconds left, Philadelphia’s 40th attempt, that pulled the Sixers to 92-90 with 32.5 seconds left. He scored 21 points and the Sixers set a team mark with 41 3-point attempts. They made only 10.
The Knicks entered the day only four games back of Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Their recent surge started right around the time news broke that New York wanted to hire Phil Jackson as team president. Jackson was officially introduced on Tuesday, and the Knicks are starting to give him reason to believe he might be in charge of a playoff contender.
The Knicks never dominated, but did enough to hold off a Sixers team freefalling toward one of the worst seasons in NBA history.
New York shook off 33 percent shooting in the first half to hit a slew of big 3s and throw down one-handed jams that turned back Philadelphia at every run.
After the Knicks started 1 for 16 from 3-point range, J.R. Smith hit a pair early in the third that gave them some needed breathing room.
And in the fourth, Stoudemire’s dunk pushed the lead to 11 and Tim Hardaway Jr., followed with one of his own that brought a huge pro-Knicks crowd to their feet.
For a team that ranked 29th in attendance, the blue-and-orange fans that colored the arena gave the fourth quarter a lively atmosphere.
Coach Mike Woodson rested his starters late in the fourth with a double-digit lead, then hurried to put them back in after the Sixers stormed back.
”I figured we could make it happen,” Woodson said. ”I had no choice. They scared the hell out of me.”
The losses have piled up for the Sixers – and now, an injury.
Wroten, their third-leading scorer, left the game in the fourth with a sprained right ankle. He was crutches in the locker room.
They could have used his scoring punch, and his ballhandling, in the final minute. Without him, the Sixers lost their 18th straight home game since beating Charlotte on Jan. 15.
”I can never get used to losing,” Wroten said. ”I ain’t worried about no losses in a row. A loss is a loss. It happens.”
Notes: 76ers coach Brett Brown was whistled for a technical foul in the fourth. … The Sixers’ previous high in 3-point attempts was 35. … Wroten will not make the trip to Chicago.