By Tommy Matthews
For two weeks all you heard from the national media was that it would take time for Joel Embiid to mesh with his new Sixers teammate James Harden.
Memo to the media:
Come up with a different topic!
Embiid scored 37 points and made a career and NBA season-high 23 free throws, Harden had 29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Sixers swamped the New York Knicks 125-109 for the second straight win for the two All-Stars.
The 76ers made 39 free throws, most in the NBA this season, and almost all their work to break open a close game midway through the fourth quarter came from the line. Embiid finished 23 of 27 on free throws and the NBA’s leading scorer added nine rebounds.
The Sixers cruised to a 133-102 win at Minnesota on Friday in Harden’s 76ers debut.
But this one was no cruise.
It was tied at 100 in the fourth, but Philly pulled away by scoring 10 of its next 12 at the line. Embiid made six free throws, Harden four, and the only 76ers basket during that stretch came when Harden fed Embiid on the fast break.
Harden added five steals and matched his season best in assists.
RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier each scored 24 points for the Knicks, who have lost five straight and nine of 10. Julius Randle had 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Embiid scored 34 and Harden had 27 points and 12 assists Friday in the All-Star guard’s first game since the 76ers acquired the 10-time All-Star and Paul Millsap for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first-round picks in a Feb. 10 trade.
Harden and Embiid got huge ovations from the plenty of Sixers fans in Madison Square Garden, then combined to score Philadelphia’s first 11 points. Harden made a 3-pointer that gave the Sixers a 38-35 lead after one.
But the cheers were replaced by plenty of groans as the game went on, with the teams combining to commit 60 fouls.