Saturday, January 23, 2021

Ben Simmons locks down RJ Barrett as Philadelphia 76ers beat New York Knicks

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The Philadelphia 76ers moved the ball so well that Ben Simmons felt like the Harlem Globetrotters.

He and Embiid continue to turn the New York Knicks into their Washington generals.

Embiid had 27 points and 10 rebounds while remaining undefeated against the Knicks, leading the 76ers to a 109-89 victory on Saturday night.

Simmons had 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists while also leading the defensive effort that forced New York’s RJ Barrett to a miserable shooting performance. The Sixers have beaten the Knicks for the 13th consecutive time since the start of the 2017-18 season, the first with Embiid and Simmons playing together.

They did so by opening a tight game in the third quarter, when they had seven assists out of their 11 baskets.

“The basketball team wins games and championships,” said Simmons.

Tobias Harris and Seth Curry each scored 17 points as Philadelphia improved to 2-0 and got off to a good start to get around their road problems after finishing with a 12-26 road record last season. Having Curry and Danny Green on board should help with their ability to strike deep.

“If you want to double down, I challenge you because we’re going to knock down those punches,” Embiid said.

New coach Doc Rivers claimed his 945th victory, edging out Bill Fitch in exclusive possession of 10th place on the career list.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Rivers, in his 22nd season. “I don’t count and that’s not what I train for but it’s an honor.”

Julius Randle scored 25 points and Alec Burks added 22 for the Knicks, who fell 0-2 under Tom Thibodeau. Barrett, after a 26-point opener, shot 2 for 15 and had 10 points.

“Our responsibility is to improve ourselves every day. Come in, put whatever you have in it, ”Thibodeau said. “The games reveal exactly where we are and that obviously shows us that we have a lot of work to do.”

The Knicks were without their two rookies in the first round. Obi Toppin is sidelined by a strained right calf and Immanuel Quickley was still sore after supporting a hip pointer in their season opener.

The Sixers’ lead was just three and a half minutes in the third quarter before six straight runs put Curry’s 3-point pointer 68-59. Randle delivered a free throw, but two baskets from Embiid and 3 points from Curry and Green drove a 16-3 run and extended the lead to 78-62 in the middle of the period.

The Knicks reduced him to nine halfway through the fourth, but Embiid had a 3-pointer before a nice flurry from Simmons pushed him to 104-85.

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