NEW YORK - The 76ers were sent back to their losing ways.
They suffered a 99-87 setback to the New York Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. That came one night after the Sixers (1-19) posted their first victory and snapped their 28-game losing streak, a record for U.S. professional sports. They also tied the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets' NBA record for consecutive losses to start a season.
"I think we just came out not ready to play," post player Nerlens Noel said.
The Sixers, who were without suspended center Jahlil Okafor, were hoping to start streaking in the opposite direction.
However, the Knicks (9-10) broke the game open in the second quarter with a 10-2 run to take a 45-32 advantage with 4 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the half. The Sixers failed to pull within single digits the rest of the way. The Knicks extended their lead to 23 points early in the fourth quarter.
New York snapped a four-game skid.
This game was supposed to feature two of the top 2015 draft picks in Okafor and Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis.
The Sixers selected Okafor third overall in the draft, while the 7-foot-3 Porzingis went one slot later. But we'll have to wait to see them on the same floor.
Okafor is serving a team-issued two-game suspension that also will keep him out Saturday against the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center. He was suspended hours after a second video surfaced of his fighting with a heckler early last Thursday on a Boston street.
Porzingis showed why New Yorkers are raving about the native of Latvia. He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to post his ninth double-double of the season. Porzingis also finished with a game-high four blocks and two assists.
"I am always fascinated by the international players," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "When I see a player like that I am reminded of many international players. That was a hell of a pick.
"His upside is going to be whatever he wants to be. He loves the game, and there is a toughness in him. I think he is unique."
Arron Afflalo (13 points), Carmelo Anthony (12), and rookie reserve Jerian Grant (12) were the Knicks' next leading scorers. Afflalo and Anthony sat out the fourth quarter.
Hollis Thompson led the Sixers with 13 points. Noel finished with six points, six rebounds, and two steals while starting in place of Okafor. Robert Covington (10 points) was hampered by a bruised right hip he suffered in the game.