By BRIAN MAHONEY – AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Embiid and James Harden were greeted by loud roars from the many Philadelphia fans who filled Madison Square Garden.
The cheers then turned to groans as one foul after another threatened to drag the morning into the late afternoon.
Embiid didn’t care how he looked to viewers. All that matters is what his partnership with Harden looks like.
“Unstoppable,” he said.
Embiid scored a career and NBA season-high 37 points and 23 free throws, Harden had 29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds, and the 76ers earned back-to-back wins with their new duo as they beat the New York Knicks 125-109 on Sunday.
The 76ers have made 39 free throws, the most in the NBA this season, and almost all of their work to open a close game midway through the fourth quarter has come from the line. Embiid was 23 of 27 in free throws and the NBA’s leading scorer added nine rebounds.
It was the opener of a home-and-away series, with Wednesday’s game being Harden’s first in front of his home fans.
“Tonight felt like we were in Philadelphia,” Harden said. “But this crowd, it’s gonna be shot in there and I’m ready for that.”