PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia’s win streak became a secondary concern after Joel Embiid went down in the second quarter.
Dario Saric had 26 points and 14 rebounds and the 76ers earned their eighth straight victory despite losing Embiid to a facial injury, beating the New York Knicks 118-101 on Wednesday night.
J.J. Redick scored 21 points and Ben Simmons added 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for Philadelphia (44-30), which stayed a half-game behind Cleveland for third in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers, who already clinched their first playoff appearance since 2012, have the franchise’s most victories since the 2002-03 club won 48 games.
Embiid was taken to a hospital for precautionary testing after a nasty collision with teammate Markelle Fultz. The team said the All-Star center had a facial contusion, but did not have a concussion.
“I was scared,” Saric said of his reaction to Embiid going down. “I hope he’ll be good and he’ll be ready.”
Embiid averages a team-high 22.9 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Philadelphia still had enough to beat New York (27-49), which lost for the fourth time in five games. Emmanuel Mudiay and Michael Beasley had 22 points apiece for the Knicks.
“You have to play well to win on the road,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We played well in parts.”
The 76ers stretched their four-point halftime advantage to 91-77 on Saric’s layup with 2:42 left in the third period. New York never threatened in the final quarter thanks in large part to Saric, who raised his game in Embiid’s absence.
“He is such a big part of this team,” Brown said. “He loves basketball. He is a great teammate. He is trending up.”
Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in last June’s draft, played for the second straight game after sitting out for most of the season while recovering from a shoulder injury. The 19-year-old guard had three points, five rebounds and seven assists in 13 minutes against the Knicks.
But Fultz’s biggest blow came against his own teammate.
Fultz was driving toward the basket 20 seconds into the second when he appeared to accidentally head-butt Embiid. The 7-footer immediately went to the floor. As a hush came over the sold-out crowd, he remained down for several minutes before he was helped off the court.
Fultz was not injured on the play.
“I know I hit him, but I believe he is OK,” Fultz said. “My heart dropped. He’s a tough guy. All I can do is pray for him.”
Embiid finished with five points and three rebounds in eight minutes.
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FULTZ FROM THE LINE: Fultz made the first of two free throws when he went to the line with 2:47 left in the third quarter. It was his first trip to the stripe since his return.
His free-throw shooting was highly scrutinized early in the season and was the most telling sign that something was off with his shot. He is 7 for 14 from the line on the season.
“It felt great,” he said. “I did a lot of practice.”
HOME SWEET HOME: The 76ers have won 19 of their last 20 at home.
TIP-INS: Knicks — Kyle O’Quinn (hip) missed his third straight game. … G Courtney Lee (left foot) also was sidelined. … Enes Kanter recorded his 39th double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. … Mudiay returned after missing Monday’s 137-128 overtime loss at Charlotte due to illness. … After setting a career high with 42 points on Monday, Trey Burke scored 18.
76ers — Amir Johnson (flu-like symptoms) and Justin Anderson (ankle) sat out. … Philadelphia swept the regular-season series, winning all four games.
UP NEXT: Knicks host Detroit on Saturday night. 76ers at Atlanta on Friday night.
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