The 76ers' defensive woes continued to foil decent offensive production Friday night as the New York Knicks beat them, 107-97, at the Wells Fargo Center. The loss was the ninth in a row for the NBA's worst team and the fifth by double digits during that span.
The Sixers (1-27) shot 48 percent from the field and outscored the Knicks in the paint, 56-46, but the team's defense was dreadful yet again.
"It's been nonexistent lately," said coach Brett Brown. "I think you're seeing a theme of perimeter people - men, you know, [Arron] Afflalo, Carmelo [Anthony], Derrick Williams. You know, we're getting manhandled physically with adult NBA wings. They shot 20 free throws in the first half and I think that we're really struggling to guard on the perimeter."
After giving up a season-high 127 points - 58 in the paint - Wednesday at Atlanta, the Sixers gave up 28 first-half points inside to the Knicks (13-14), who shot 47 percent from the field overall and 21 of 28 from the foul line.
Afflalo led the Knicks with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Anthony added 16. Williams added 17 more off the bench.
In the first half, the Sixers shot a respectable 46 percent from the field but a putrid 4 of 12 (33 percent) from the foul line and an even worse 2 of 13 (15 percent) from three.
That effort led to a 65-44 deficit at the half that ballooned to 98-68 with 10 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the game. The Sixers made just 6 of 24 shots from beyond the arc and 17 of 30 from the foul line.
"The thing I said since I got this job is we have to keep guys in the boat," Brown said. "They have to remain spirited and not beaten down. You're at a stage where you drop games by the volume of points we have given up, that worries me more. That's as much of a focus as I have on anything as it is shooting our way out of it."
Nerlens Noel started, scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in his first action since missing two games with a corneal abrasion in his left eye.
Tony Wroten scored a season-high 15 points but also committed seven of the team's 15 turnovers.
The battle between topflight rookie big men Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis never truly materialized, save for some second-quarter action.
Okafor's offensive highlights against the 7-foot-3, 240-pound Latvian included a baseline spin and subsequent one-handed dunk and another lay-in after he bullied his way past Porzingis.
After Okafor's dunk, however, the Sixers allowed a quick layup by Jerian Grant.
Porzingis blocked two Sixers shots and added a dunk of his own in the first half that led to cheers from the sizable faction of Knicks fans in attendance.
Okafor finished the game with 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Porzingis finished with eight points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.