Embiid, Simmons help 76ers end slump, beat Knicks 131-109
Joel Embiid had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Simmons got his second triple-double in his last three games, and the Philadelphia 76ers snapped out of a funk to beat the Knicks 131-109 on Wednesday night.
Simmons finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, but said his numbers don’t tell the whole story.
“I was just frustrated,” Simmons said. “I want to play well and perform for the team. I want to make sure we win every game we play. I think the second half was a different kind of Ben.”
Philadelphia had lost three of four, including a lopsided defeat in San Antonio on Monday.
“For most of the game, our offense was humming,” said JJ Redick, who finished with 14 points, surpassing the 10,000-point milestone for his career. “I thought Ben was great in terms of being on the attack. They really had no answer for Jo (Embiid). And the biggest thing was the second half, we were pretty good defensively.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 27 points and Kevin Knox had 21 for the Knicks (9-24), who have lost three straight and eight of their last nine. Emmanuel Mudiay, averaging 20 points per game in his previous nine contests, was held to 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
“It’s tough when you have Ben Simmons, who’s really fast, who’s running downhill the whole game,” Knox said. “You’ve got Embiid, who’s hard to really guard in the post. … They’ve just got a lot of weapons.”
The Sixers were clicking offensively from the start, scoring 38 points on nearly 70 percent shooting in the first quarter, capped by a four-point play from Furkan Korkmaz. They led by as many as 14 in the first half and took a 69-61 lead into halftime, though the Knicks closed the half on a highlight-reel alley oop from Hardaway to Knox.
After the Knicks cut Philly’s lead to three early in the third, Embiid and Simmons had back-to-back one handed slams to get the home crowd going and help the Sixers pull away.
“We hung around,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “That’s kind of what we do. We’re pests. But when we miss open shots and they’re knocking every single one of them down, that’s how the game broke open.”
Knicks: The Knicks were without Mitchell Robinson (sprained left ankle) and Allonzo Trier (strained left hamstring). … Damyean Dotson had 14 points off the bench after missing the last two games with a sore shoulder.
76ers: Some of the loudest cheers came before the game when Hall of Famer Julius Erving rang the ceremonial bell. . The Sixers had their best shooting first half of the season (58.7 percent).
When asked about becoming the 47th active NBA player to score 10,000 points, Redick was self-deprecating before pausing to appreciate his longevity.
“If you had told me 10 years ago as a third-year guy struggling to get into the rotation that I would score 10,000 points, I would think you were crazy,” he said. “It’s a cool thing for me. I didn’t realize I was that close.”
Just because Simmons had his fourth triple-double of the season — and the 16th of his career —doesn’t mean he was happy with his performance.
“Some guys don’t ever get (triple-doubles) in their career,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a playing style where it’s pretty easy.”
Fizdale said Hardaway, the team’s top scorer who missed New York’s last game, has been dealing with plantar fasciitis but added that he has no thoughts of shutting him down.
“Only a couple of us knew it was really bothering him,” the Knicks coach said. “I think just one game of rest really helped him. He came back and felt like himself.”
Knicks: Host Atlanta on Friday night.
76ers: Host Toronto on Saturday night.