By Ben Sullivan
Sixers center Joel Embiid is on his way to the All-Star game this weekend in Charlotte.
But before that big show he and the Sixers took care of business last night in New York.
He had 26 points, 14 rebounds and one flying leap over an award-winning actress into the crowd as the Sixers handed the Knicks their 18th straight loss with a 126-111 victory.
Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Ben Simmons had 18 for the 76ers, who bounced back from their 112-109 home loss to Boston on Tuesday, raising their record to 37-21.
They went 7-5 during a difficult stretch of their schedule that included the trade with the Clippers to acquire Harris.
“We’re in a good position,” Simmons said.
Allonzo Trier scored 19 points and fellow rookie Mitchell Robinson had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks (10-46), who remain mired in the longest losing streak during one season in franchise history.
The 76ers made 14 of 18 shots (78 percent) in the first quarter, yet only led 37-33 after the Knicks outworked them on the offensive boards to get up nine more shot attempts. Philly then pushed the lead to 71-55 at halftime.
They seemed headed for a rout when eight straight points in the third opened an 88-62 advantage after a free throw by Simmons, but the Knicks put up 36 points in the period and were within single digits going to the fourth.
It was during the third that Embiid gave the 76ers and plenty of people sitting courtside a scare when he tried to chase down a ball going to the sideline. He went flying just over the head of actress Regina King , who won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Golden Globes, and crashed feet-first into the MSG Network statistician working next to broadcaster Mike Breen.
“It’s good that I saved her life I guess, but someone else had to, like, take that,” Embiid said. “I’m sorry about that.”
Coach Brett Brown’s thoughts on Embiid’s dive?
“Just like I think our owners and our fans back home were thinking,” he said. “You respect his aggression, and his passion, but you don’t want that. I say that out of love and care. It’s stuff you hope to avoid.”
The statistician somehow stayed in the game.
“I didn’t see him but I know he’s going to feel it tomorrow,” Simmons said.