Trip to Garden Marks Pre-All Star Finale

by Lauren Rosen

Scene Setter:

After a tough loss to the Boston Celtics (36-21) Tuesday night, the 76ers (36-21) have a chance to rebound in the second night of a back-to-back leading into the All-Star break.

They’ve already recorded a trio of victories this season over the New York Knicks (10-46), and will look for a fourth Wednesday in the Big Apple.

“We can’t get too stuck on this one. I hope everybody’s still smiling,” Jimmy Butler said after Tuesday’s 112-109 loss to the Cs. “We’re still fortunate enough to play the game that we love.”

Butler scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds Tuesday. Each of his fellow starters finished the game in double digits, including Joel Embiid, who posted 23 points and 14 rebounds.

The Sixers have played just three games together since their blockbuster trade for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott. James Ennis III and Jonathon Simmons also joined the team at the deadline.

The new-look Sixers outrebounded the Celtics Tuesday, 47-41, and outscored the C’s in the second half, 63-60.

“You want to win every game, but at the same time, this is a new team,” Ben Simmons said Tuesday. “I’m excited, with everyone we have, to see how far we can go.”

Simmons recorded a monster 20 points, 22 rebounds and nine assists in the Sixers’ last meeting with the Knicks on Jan. 13.

Embiid has scored 20-plus points in each of the three meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals, highlighted by a 26-point, 14-rebound, and seven-assist showing Nov. 28.

Despite Tuesday’s loss, the Sixers’ productivity remains among the league’s best. The squad is the only team in the league to rank in the top five in points (115.7), rebounds (47.0) and assists (27.3) per game.

Opponent Outlook:

The Knicks have dropped 17 in a row, last winning on Jan. 4. The team almost snapped the streak Monday with a late push in Cleveland, but fell, 107-104. Tim Hardaway Jr. leads his team in scoring (19.1 ppg). New additions DeAndre Jordan and Dennis Smith Jr joined the Knicks after the franchise traded star forward Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas Jan. 31.

Follow Along:

Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network

Video: NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBC Sports MyTeams app