Knicks thrash Sixers, 110-96, emerge from All-Star break on a high note

Eight days of rest looks pretty good on these Knicks.

The Knicks came out of the 2024 NBA All-Star break spry and rejuvenated, jumping out to a lead ballooning as large as 26 in a 110-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

The victory creates more separation between No. 4 New York and No. 5 Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings. It also gives the Knicks a 2-0 series lead over a division opponent with two more games to play this season.

And after losing five of the six games preceding Jalen Brunson’s first career trip to All-Star Weekend, the Knicks used the first game out of the break to right their wrongs with a road victory over a quality 76ers opponent.

It was the newcomer, Bojan Bogdanovic, whose first-half eruption swung the game in New York’s favor early.

Bogdanovic scored 19 of his 22 points in the first half and made all six of his attempts from downtown.

Five of his threes came in the game’s first two quarters.

Thanks to Bogdanovic’s hot shooting, the Knicks entered the half up 69-46 over the Sixers.

Then Philadelphia outscored New York, 35-22, in the third quarter alone to tighten the game entering the final period.

The Knicks resisted Sixers runs in the third and fourth quarters. Philadelphia cut the lead down to six with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks generated timely stops to secure win No. 34 of the regular season.

Brunson shot just 5-of-18 from the field for 21 points but shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the foul line and finished the game with 12 assists. Precious Achiuwa and Josh Hart each scored 18 points and each grabbed 11 or more rebounds, with Hart finishing with 12 boards.

With Isaiah Hartenstein on a minutes restriction after missing three straight games, Achiuwa has taken advantage of his opportunity.

“It’s been really really fun. I’m just happy that we came out here and handled business and were able to come out with the win,” he said postgame.”[My impact] just speaks to my versatility being able to play multiple positions. Defensively I guard the one, two, three, four and five.”

DiVincenzo hit four threes for 16 points, and the Knicks cruised to a victory over a team with a winning record — though the ending was bumpier than the team would have liked.

Tyrese Maxey scored 35 points for the Sixers, who attempted to muck the game up with physical defense. Like the Knicks, the 76ers are shorthanded: Philadelphia is without MVP center Joel Embiid, while New York played another game without three starters in Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson.

The Knicks are now 5-5 since both Randle (shoulder) and Anunoby (elbow) last played on Jan. 27 against the Miami Heat.

Next up: Madison Square Garden will host the Boston Celtics. Boston owns the best record in basketball and has beaten the Knicks twice this season already.