Minus Embiid and Simmons, Harris leads 76ers past Knicks

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tobias Harris’ performance had the 76ers feeling good during the game, and the doctor’s report on Joel Embiid afterward had them feeling even better.

Harris scored 34 points to lead short-handed Philadelphia to a 115-106 victory over the New York Knicks yesterday.

The 76ers played without injured All-Stars Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Embiid was hurt in Wednesday night’s loss at Cleveland when he collided with Ante Zizic. After yesterday’s victory, the 76ers learned that their star centre didn’t have any structural damage. He has a sprained left shoulder and will be re-evaluated in about a week.

“That’s exciting news,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris goes up for a shot against New York Knicks’ Julius Randle. PHOTO: AP

Before the game, Brown discussed playing without Embiid and Simmons.

“It’s a painfully obvious bind,” Brown said. “We’re missing two All-Stars. You yank that from the team and it’s painful.”

The duo’s absence didn’t hurt against the woeful Knicks.

Shake Milton scored 19 points and Al Horford added 15 for the 76ers, who improved to their NBA-best home record to 28-2.

Harris signed a five-year, USD180 million deal in the offseason. He usually takes a back seat offensively to Embiid or Simmons, but Philadelphia needed him to be the go-to player against New York.

“Just taking the opportunities that were presented,” said Harris, who added seven rebounds and seven assists. “We had a good pop to our offence and I was able to get in-the-flow plays.”

Julius Randle had 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost their sixth straight game while clinching a sixth straight losing season.

“Bottom line, we have to do a better job (defensively),” Knicks coach Mike Miller said. “Tonight it was the second quarter. I like the way we played in the second half.”

The Knicks were within 107-102 with 2:08 left after Randle made the first of two free throws, but consecutive three-pointers by Harris and Milton gave Philadelphia breathing room.

“He’s just a highly competitive person,” Brown said of Harris. “That’s why he’s good. Very prideful.”

Harris had 23 points in the opening half to help Philadelphia to a 61-46 lead at the break. Milton went four-for-four from the field including three three-pointers in the first half. Randle had 15 points at the intermission for the Knicks.

New York got within four points on Moe Harkless’ three with 5:09 left in the third period. But Philadelphia had an 87-79 advantage to start the fourth.