The New York Knicks heard plenty of boos Saturday in their home opener.
They will try to give their fans something to cheer about Tuesday as they host the Philadelphia 76ers.
New York was pounded 107-73 by the Boston Celtics in its first game at Madison Square Garden this season. The hometown crowd, which included celebrities Paris Hilton, Woody Allen and Spike Lee, wasn’t shy about voicing its displeasure with the Knicks’ effort, especially when Tim Thomas closed out the first half with an air ball.
It was the worst loss in a home opener in franchise history.
“I would have booed, too, if I was a fan. The way we played tonight, we deserved to get booed,” said point guard Stephon Marbury, who had 12 points. “We were terrible. In all areas of playing basketball, we were bad tonight. Everything that entails going into winning a basketball game, we had none of it.”
Reserve forward Michael Sweetney had a team-high 18 points for New York, which lost its season opener in Minnesota 99-93 on Wednesday.
“This is New York. We wanted to win in the worst way and play our best basketball, but each and every night it’s not going to happen,” Thomas said. “But for that to happen, it was just uncalled for. It was just a terrible night.”
The 76ers are coming off Saturday’s 99-91 loss to the Detroit Pistons, their second straight defeat since a season-opening 98-95 win at Boston.
Allen Iverson had a game-high 31 points for Philadelphia, but was held to just eight in the second half.
“They started giving me a lot more attention in the second half—trapping me and doubling,” Iverson said. “So, I started looking for the other guys. That’s what a point guard is supposed to do.”
The rest of the Sixers’ starters managed only 30 points against the Pistons. Iverson leads Philadelphia with 28.7 points per game, while the second-leading scorer, Willie Green, is averaging just 12.
“Allen can’t always carry the load by himself,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “He’s playing back-to-back games, and he’s got to push the ball and defend one of their best players. We need to establish an inside game, but that’s tough to do against Detroit.”
STANDINGS (through Nov. 7): 76ers - 2nd place (tied), 2 GB, Atlantic Division. Knicks - 5th place, 2 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: 76ers - Iverson, 28.7 ppg and 6.7 apg; Kenny Thomas, 11.3 rpg. Knicks - Marbury, 19.5 ppg and 8.0 apg; Kurt Thomas, 12.0 rpg.
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Knicks, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: April 3; Knicks, 86-75. At Philadelphia, Marbury had game highs of 20 points and 12 assists for the Knicks, who led by 14 at halftime. Green scored 14 points for the Sixers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 1-1 on the road; Knicks - 0-1 at home.
INJURIES: 76ers - G Kevin Ollie (hip); G-F John Salmons (groin); F Glenn Robinson (ankle). Knicks - G Allan Houston (knee), G Jamison Brewer (toe), C Bruno Sundov (Achilles’), G Penny Hardaway (hamstring).