NEW YORK – With a big lead and bigger games ahead, Joel Embiid could have opted for safety.
He could have simply let the ball go out of bounds, without putting a scare into people in the 76ers’ front office or along the Madison Square Garden sideline.
That’s not his style.
“I only know one way to play and that’s to play hard and compete,” Embiid said.
The All-Star center had 26 points, 14 rebounds and one flying leap over an award-winning actress into the crowd, and Philadelphia handed the Knicks their 18th straight loss with a 126-111 victory on Wednesday night.
Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Ben Simmons had 18 for the 76ers, who bounced back from their 112-109 home loss to Boston on Tuesday, sending themselves into the All-Star break with a 37-21 record. They went 7-5 during a difficult stretch of their schedule that included the trade with the Clippers to acquire Harris.
“We’re in a good position,” Simmons said.
They had times Wednesday where it appeared they’d win easily, and other moments where the game became much more difficult than necessary against the team with the NBA’s worst record.
Allonzo Trier scored 19 points and fellow rookie Mitchell Robinson had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks (10-46), who remain mired in the longest losing streak during one season in franchise history.
“All we can do is keep building on the good things we’re doing and try to fix the things that are mistakes for us,” Trier said.
Timberwolves 121, Rockets 111
In Minneapolis, Jeff Teague scored 27 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 25 and Minnesota overcame James Harden’s 42 points to beat Houston.
Harden had his 31st consecutive game with 30 or more points, tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak in league history.
Nets 148, Cavaliers 139 (3OT)
In Cleveland, D’Angelo Russell scored 14 of his 36 points in the third overtime and Brooklyn outlasted the Cavs.
DeMarre Carroll’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer of the second overtime tied the game, and Nets carried the momentum into the third extra session.
In Other Games
Raptors 129, Wizards 120
Clippers 134, Suns 107
Bucks 106, Pacers 97
Heat 112, Mavericks 101
Celtics 118, Pistons 110
Bulls 122, Grizzlies 110
Nuggets 120, Kings 118
Trail Blazers 129, Warriors 107
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5