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76ers 90, Knicks 87: Scenes from a brickfest someone had to win

This game was brought to you by the letter “L”

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks don’t beat the 76ers. That as much as anything explains how Philadelphia sans Joel Embiid could score just 90 points on 44/31/63 shooting and still beat New York for the 11th straight time. Well, that plus the Knicks shooting 40/24/61. It was like watching two fetuses fighting over one viable birth canal, only they were scratching themselves and tripping over their own feet as much as they were hurting their rival.

Before unveiling the sorely missed home white jerseys, the players were wearing T-shirts in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Maybe “shooting” isn’t the diction to go with when honoring MLK, but I hear it’s the thought that counts.

The Sixers took the lead in the first and stayed up between 5-10 points for a while, though there were peaks and valleys to break up the extended spread. Allonzo Trier not only played, but had sweet dishes to Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson and Bobby Portis. Frank didn’t pull the trigger with the first-quarter clock winding down and ended up shooting too late, and Robinson and Portis couldn’t finish dunk attempts.

Sometimes a still shot says it best.

The Knicks had moxie, but the 76ers had Ben Simmons. Big Ben literally had enough dunks to dedicate one to every Kardashian sister he hasn’t dated with dunks left over for the day some long-lost Kardashian adds herself to their cluck.

In the third quarter with both teams struggling to score, it was Elfrid Payton, ye gods!, helping to pull New York within striking distance. Couldn’t help laughing at this assault on the glass.

Turns out Simmons is easier to defend when he’s not going at full speed with no one in front of him.

I love prodigious defensive talents. In that vein, Matisse Thybulle, everybody!

As endgame settled in the Knicks kept crawling, scrambling toward the light.

New York had a million chances to take the lead, and finally did off a Marcus Morris pull-up with 30 seconds remaining. Then Philadelphia maaaaybe got away with a five-second violation on the inbounds, which was quickly forgotten after Tobias Harris took the pass and, left to his lonesome behind the arc, drilled the open three. If you’re tempted to watch a replay of this game, quit after the Harris shot. You don’t wanna see what the Knicks put together after.

China Joe has the recap coming tomorrow. He’s promised it will be no more than this game deserves. Tough...but fair.