The New York Knicks don’t have time for the type of sleepless night that often can accompany a loss like the one they absorbed Saturday night.
The Knicks will look to bounce back quickly from the disappointing defeat on Sunday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers in a battle of longtime division rivals.
The Knicks will complete back-to-back home games after overcoming a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit before falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 134-128 in overtime. The 76ers were off Saturday after defeating the host San Antonio Spurs 137-125 on Friday night.
The loss was the seventh in the past 10 games for the Knicks, who were seconds away from a stunning comeback win. New York took its first lead of the game during a 13-2 run in which Jalen Brunson had a pair of assists and four points, including the floater that extended the hosts’ lead to 115-112 with 18.9 seconds left.
The Knicks had a foul to give but didn’t use it on the Clippers’ final possession. Paul George missed a 27-footer with eight seconds left, but Ivica Zubac grabbed the rebound and began one last push for Los Angeles, which tied the game when George fed Nicolas Batum in the right corner for a game-tying, buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Clippers never trailed in overtime, when they scored 15 of their 19 points from the free-throw line. The Knicks opened the extra session by going 0-for-2 from the field with four turnovers in the first four minutes before getting as close as four points in the waning seconds.
“We should have been aware,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Knicks’ foul situation. “It’s a shame to lose the game because of the fight. The comeback was great; we were in position to win. You’re one rebound away from the win. We’ve got to come up with that.”
The 76ers didn’t play their best Friday but still cruised to their 14th win in 17 games dating to New Year’s Eve. Philadelphia trailed the Spurs — who have lost eight straight and have the third-worst record in the NBA — by as many as seven in the first quarter and faced several small deficits in the second before finishing the half on a 22-14 run to take a 73-61 lead.
While the 76ers led by as many as 23 in the fourth quarter and were never seriously threatened thereafter, James Harden lamented the inconsistency of Philadelphia’s performance.
“We got a win,” Harden said, “but we’ve got to try to be better overall.”
Joel Embiid (33 points, 10 rebounds) posted his fifth straight double-double for the 76ers, who enter Sunday in third place in the Eastern Conference, two games behind the first-place Boston Celtics.
Philadelphia is 6 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Miami Heat, who occupy the last guaranteed playoff spot, and 7 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-place Knicks.