Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks couldn’t sustain their strong start as they faded down the stretch in Philadelphia.
The 76ers broke loose in the fourth quarter with their zone defense stalling the Knicks’ offense to run away with a come-from-behind 119-108 win Friday night.
New York bled for only 15 points on 6 of 17 shooting in a disappointing finish.
One night after Brunson’s jersey was retired at Villanova, 21 miles away from Wells Fargo Center, the Knicks point guard had an inspiring start at one of his collegiate stomping grounds.
Brunson dropped 20 points in the opening quarter, his single-quarter career high and a Knicks season high, as they seized control of the game.
Brunson’s firepower and the Knicks’ ball movement caught the 76ers flat-footed.
Tyrese Maxey came off the bench to rally Philadelphia from a 13-point deficit. He finished with 27 points, 14 in the second half, while Joel Embiid had a dominant 35-point, 11-rebound, and six-assist night.
Maxey’s three-pointer off an interception of RJ Barrett’s inbound pass midway in the third quarter sparked the 76ers’ comeback.
Brunson cooled off after a hot start. He ended up with 30 points but was only 1 of 3 in the fourth quarter. Julius Randle also saw his 30-point, 10-rebound effort go to waste.
James Harden flirted with a triple-double (20 points, 8 rebounds, and 12 assists). Harden and Maxey were the difference makers this time as the 76ers avenged their Sunday night’s loss in New York, where they squandered a 21-point lead.
The loss snapped the Knicks’ two-game win streak, and they have barely 24 hours to recover as they host the Utah Jazz Saturday night.
Newly acquired Josh Hart was in attendance but was inactive despite passing his physical test. He is expected to be on the active list against the Jazz.
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