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Knicks’ bench set the tone in dominant win over one of NBA’s best

The Knicks put together one of their best performances of the season on Friday night, running one of the NBA’s top teams out of the gym in a commanding victory to push their winning streak to three games.

Soon-to-be All-Stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle have been carrying the load for New York’s offense all season long, but that wasn’t the case in this one.

While Brunson did his thing leading the way with 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting, the 76ers frustrated Randle, holding him to just eight points on one successful field goal and six free throws.

With Randle’s rare off night, Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks turned to their bench for a spark, and boy did they get one.

Trailing by 10 points in the first quarter, backup point guard Deuce McBride entered and knocked down four consecutive three-point attempts for 12 quick points, getting the Knicks back on track and setting the tone for the night.

McBride went on to finish with 15 points, a rebound and four assists and was a pest on the defensive end.

“He played great, obviously we were all hype for him on the bench,” Brunson said postgame. “He works so hard day in and day out so the confidence he has just comes from his work ethic. It just looked so natural for him out there tonight.”

And McBride wasn’t the only Knicks reserve who stepped up, as Josh Hart recorded a double-double (10-15) and was a franchise-best +46 in 30 minutes off the bench. Quentin Grimes didn’t make a basket until the second half, but he went on a fourth-quarter splurge and ended with 19 points of his own.

Overall, New York’s bench unit outscored Philly’s 39-15 on the night.

“They were huge,” Thibodeau said. “We got great production from a number of different people. Deuce came in and played great. Quentin gave us some great minutes. Isaiah played with a lot of discipline against Embiid and Josh was fantastic all around.

“Guys just played really unselfishly tonight. They were hitting the open man and trusting their passes. We played good defense and had good rebounding on both ends, just all things you’re looking for. It was a good solid all-around win.”

The Knicks’ second unit has struggled a bit in the absence of last season’s Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Immanuel Quickley, but perhaps Friday's breakout performance could be the spark they’ve needed.

"We all stepped up," Hart said. "We've played like s--t the past two games, but I think we all came in and brought great energy to be able to get stops, play fast and create some momentum. We just have to continue to do that, continue to build and to grow and keep putting together wins."