Tobias Harris’ late 3 seals Sixers’ win over Knicks
NEW YORK — The 76ers haven’t won as much on the road as they’d like. They relied on defense to get it done at Madison Square Garden.
Tobias Harris hit a go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, Ben Simmons had 21 points and Philadelphia beat the New York Knicks 90-87 on Saturday night for its third straight victory.
“I thought our defense really fueled us throughout the game,” Harris said. “We did a good job defensively of getting our stops, getting out in transition.”
Josh Richardson added 18 points and reserve Furkan Korkmaz scored 17 for the 76ers, who snapped a six-game road losing streak. Their last win away from home was Dec. 23 at Detroit. Philadelphia is 28-16 overall but just 8-14 on the road.
It was the second straight game — and the third overall this season — that the 76ers held an opponent under 90 points.
“It was a real sense of urgency of getting a win on the road and getting stops down the stretch,” Al Horford said. “Defensively, this was kind of like an old-school type of game.”
Marcus Morris Sr. scored 20 points and missed a half-court heave at the buzzer for the Knicks, who have lost three straight. Julius Randle had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Philadelphia scored five straight points to extend its lead 84-77 on a three-point play from Harris with 6:45 left in the fourth quarter.
New York then rallied late with a 10-2 run and took a 87-86 lead when Morris sank a jumper over Simmons with 31 seconds left in regulation.
The 76ers called a timeout to advance the ball past half court and Simmons found a wide-open Harris — who made 5 of 13 shots and finished with 15 points — for his fourth 3-pointer of the night to put Philadelphia ahead 89-87 with 28 seconds to play.
New York had a chance to tie, but Simmons and Harris swarmed Randle on an inbound play and forced the ball out of bounds.
“We were trying to get Marcus the ball on the elbow and clear some room for him going to his right and they pushed everything left and trapped us on that side,” Randle said. “We got caught in a bad position.”
Korkmaz’s free throw with 4.2 seconds left sealed it for the 76ers.
Simmons had 16 points to help the 76ers build a 52-46 lead heading into the half. He shot 7 for 10 from the field and had couple of dunks in transition that brought the Madison Square Garden crowd to its feet, including a noticeable Philly contingent.
Two-time MVP Steve Nash watched from courtside and got an up-close view of Simmons directing the Sixers’ offense.
“Ben is a generational talent. Crazy athlete. He can play multiple positions on offense and defense,” Nash said. “Obviously, his glaring weakness is his shooting, but he is so gifted that he can make up for it in other ways, and it’s about finding a way for him to be at his best in this group and that’s a challenge in this club — how all the pieces fit together.”
The two chatted briefly in the visitors’ locker room after the game. Simmons said he was looking to pick up some pointers from the eight-time All Star.
“He was just a great leader. I was watching highlights of some of his games, the way he played,” Simmons said. “He was relentless. He played through everything.”
Sixers: Matisse Thybulle has notched at least one steal and one block in his last five games. The last Philadelphia rookie to do so was Simmons during the 2017-18 season. Thybulle leads all NBA rookies with 16 games of at least one steal and one block.
Knicks: Reggie Bullock had 14 points and Elfrid Payton added 10 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
76ers: Visit the Brooklyn Nets on Monday before concluding their three-game trip at Toronto on Wednesday.
Knicks: Visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
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