LAS VEGAS - Jahlil Okafor keeps rising to the occasion.
The 76ers' rookie center once again had a solid performance Tuesday in a matchup featuring two of the top four picks in the NBA draft. This time, it came in an 84-81 overtime loss to Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Okafor, the third overall pick on June 25, finished with 18 points and six rebounds. However, he had his shot blocked five times, had four turnovers and struggled again from the foul line. He made 2 of 7 free throws.
Porzingis, who was drafted fourth, had nine points, three rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Saturday, Okafor had 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks against a Los Angeles Lakers squad featuring guard D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick.
Okafor shared the spotlight with point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who finished with a game-high 26 points and made 6 of 8 three-pointers. He missed a corner three as time expired in overtime that would have extended the game.
"Scottie had a hell of a game," Okafor said. "He's amazing. He's a great shooter. That definitely helps me out when I am around some great shooters."
Okafor displayed his post presence on a day when Porzingis tried to utilize his athleticism and long-range shooting. The 7-foot-1 power forward from Latvia opened the game by shooting a long two-pointer with Okafor draped on him.
But the 6-11 Okafor dominated the quarter with his array of post moves. The 19-year-old out of Duke finished the quarter with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting. He also had three rebounds.
Okafor said he was light-headed early on because he had not eaten before the game. "That's the reason you saw me on the sidelines eating those little bars," he said. "But the rest of the game, I'm getting more comfortable playing five-on-five again."
The Sixers (0-3) nearly blew the game in regulation. They called a timeout with 28.6 seconds left. The only problem was, they didn't have any left and received a technical foul. Jerian Grant sank the free throw to make it a 77-76 game. Then Porzingis added a pair of foul shots with 6.9 seconds left to give the Knicks (3-0) a three-point cushion.
However, Wilbekin was fouled while attempting a three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left. The former Florida standout made all three foul shots. The teams went to overtime after Grant misfired on a desperation three-pointer at the end of regulation.
The Knicks scored the first four points of overtime en route to the win.
Sixers point guard Pierre Jackson sat out the game with a groin injury.
The Sixers will open the summer league playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Sheridan Hoops website reported that the Sixers have expressed interest in New Orleans Pelicans restricted free agent Norris Cole.
"We won't comment on potential free agents," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. "Sorry."