Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton (18) drives against New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK — Julius Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Jalen Brunson scored 21 points and the New York Knicks overcame an early 21-point deficit to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-97 on Sunday night.
Evan Fournier came off the bench to add 17 points for the Knicks, who were playing a night after an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It was great,” Randle said. “I think the biggest difference between last night and tonight, where I thought we could have won, was tonight it was our defense.”
Joel Embiid had 31 points for the 76ers, going 18 of 19 from the free throw line, and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Philadelphia had won nine of its previous 10 games. The 76ers also blew a 21-point lead in a 119-109 loss to Orlando on Monday.
“It’s never easy,” Embiid said. “A 20-point lead in the NBA, that’s nothing. Any team can come back and that’s what they did tonight.”
Philadelphia went ahead by 21 points in the first quarter, but the Knicks continued to chip away and cut it to 53-51 at halftime.
Randle’s 3-pointer to start the second half put New York ahead 54-53, its first lead since 2-0.
Philadelphia went back up by eight and led 79-76 heading into the fourth quarter.
Tyrese Maxey opened the final quarter with a three-point play, but the Knicks scored the next 10 points and capped a 15-2 run on Fournier’s 3-pointer, giving them a 91-84 lead.
They never trailed again.
“I thought our second unit came in and struggled,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “This is the second time that has happened. The same thing happened in Orlando. Both times, we were scoring too easy. The second group comes in and thinks this is an offensive game and they didn’t see the reason the first group got the lead was because of defense.”
The 76ers pulled within three, but Randle’s floater made it 102-92 with 2:18 remaining.
Philadelphia never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
“It was a great team win all-around,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It was great. We digged in the fourth quarter.”
Miles McBride had 14 points and Isaiah Hartenstein tied a season high with 14 rebounds for the Knicks.
De’Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris each had 14 points for the 76ers. James Harden had 12 points and 12 assists.
“They played harder,” Rivers added. “They got everything. They were the more physical team. They were tougher.”
76ers: Philadelphia had won eight straight road games. … No 76er has played in all of their games this season. Georges Niang and PJ Tucker have each played in a team-high 50. Tucker’s appearances have all been starts, while Niang’s have all come off the bench.
Knicks: RJ Barrett did not play due to a non-Covid illness. … The Knicks overcame a 20-point deficit to win a game for the first time this season. … New York is 14-15 at home, the only team in the NBA with a winning record to have a losing record at home.
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