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Grades from 131-109 win over New York Knicks

The Philadelphia 76ers broke a two-game losing streak in the Wells Fargo Center, rolling to a win over the lowly New York Knicks. 

After losing in embarrassing fashion on Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back with a solid home win over the New York Knicks. Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler led the way, scoring 24 and 20 points, respectively.

The game started with very little defense, as the Knicks gifted Philadelphia several good looks in the opening quarter. The favor was returned, with New York getting hot and going on a few mini-runs before the first frame ended, with the Sixers holding a narrow 38-33 lead.

Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler, however, did put together some impressive individual possessions on the defensive end. The latter ended up with three steals on the night, while Simmons tallied one highlight block on the three-point line.

Per usual, the Sixers’ starting five was highly effective. Embiid scored early and often, taking advantage of several mismatches en route to 10 first quarter points. Butler put eight on the board, making hard moves to the rim and drawing contact on multiple occasions.

In the second quarter, things once again went to and fro, with the Sixers extending the lead on multiple occasions, only for New York to trim it back. Embiid bumped his scoring total to 16, but also dished out a few assists.

One of those assists was of particular importance. Working the two-man game early in the second, Embiid found J.J. Redick for the 34-year-old’s 10,000th career point. That’s quite an accomplishment for the former Duke star.

Despite strong first half performances from Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kevin Knox — who worked out twice with Philadelphia over the summer — the Sixers led 69-61 after two.

30 mins | 13 pts | 11 reb | 10 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk | 3 TO | 5-10 FG | 0-0 3PT| 3-4 FT | 0 PF | +9 |

Simmons now has two triple-doubles in his last three games, giving him four on the season. He made an early impact on defense, hounding the perimeter and making a nice recovery to block Kevin Knox on a three-pointer in the first quarter. Some weird turnovers aside, he was solid all-around.

25 mins | 24 pts | 10 reb | 3 ast | 0 stl | 1 blk | 4 TO | 10-17 FG | 0-0 3PT| 4-4 FT | 4 PF | +10 |

The Knicks are a good matchup for Embiid, yielding some easy looks underneath and allowing the big man to cruise to 24 points. Embiid also had some nice passes, including a bullet to Furkan Korkmaz, who nailed the three (plus a foul) with 1.1 seconds left in the first quarter. There are still moments where Embiid forces the issue down low, but tonight, it mostly worked out.

31 mins | 20 pts | 4 reb | 4 ast | 3 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 6-9 FG | 0-1 3PT| 8-10 FT | 4 PF | +16 |

Butler put together an excellent two-way performance, nabbing three steals and scoring 20 points on just nine shots. He forced his way to the free throw line 10 times, making strong moves to the rim and embracing contact.

22 mins | 17 pts | 1 reb | 1 ast | 0 stl | 1 blk | 0 TO | 6-10 FG | 4-7 3PT| 1-1 FT | 1 PF | +12 |

Shamet notched a new career high, continuing his recent hot streak from behind the arc. He now leads all rookies in made three-pointers (62) — more than both Luka Doncic and Trae Young, who are playing considerably more minutes. He also picked up an impressive block on fellow rookie Kevin Knox.

20 mins | 7 pts | 3 reb | 2 ast | 2 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 3-6 FG | 1-2 3PT| 0-0 FT | 1 PF | +13 |

There’s just something about T.J. McConnell and the Knicks. It was a typically stable game for McConnell, avoiding the turnover column and hitting a corner triple. He also forced his way into several passing lanes, nabbing two steals (and knocking two more inbounds passes out of bounds).

The second half went more strongly in Philadelphia’s favor. Simmons got a couple early points before being hit with a technical foul while arguing an alleged missed call (it was the correct call). Afterward, Ben went on a brief run, aggressively attacking the rim and making plays.

Butler frequented the free throw line all night, shooting 8-for-10 at the charity stripe. The Knicks’ defense had few answers for the Sixers’ main pieces. Embiid made his 24 look easy, with Enes Kanter being the Knicks’ best answer on the block.

New York trimmed the lead to just three after the aforementioned Simmons technical, but the Sixers quickly re-asserted themselves and took control from that point forward. It was a 14-point Sixers lead by the quarter’s end.

In the fourth, things got quickly out of hand for New York. Simmons netted his second triple-double in three games, Embiid got to rest after just 25 minutes, and Landry Shamet hit a couple shots on his way to 17 points — a new career high.

While defense remains an issue, Wednesday was yet another promising performance for the reigning 26th pick. Shamet has the off-ball movement and spot-up shooting down. He’s going to be useful for a long time.

Next: Two small moves that could improve the bench

The Sixers ended up winning 131-109, finishing two points shy of their season-high scoring mark (133 vs. Charlotte). Their next game is Saturday in the Wells Fargo Center, where the first-seeded Raptors will make an appearance.

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