Anthony, Lopez lead Knicks past struggling 76ers, 109-102
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carmelo Anthony had a stomach bug. The Knicks didn't feel good, either, blowing almost all of a 19-point lead.
Anthony still scored 20 points and Robin Lopez had 24 points and 15 rebounds to help the New York Knicks hold off the Philadelphia 76ers 109-102 on Friday night.
Sasha Vujacic scored 16 points in a game between two of the worst teams in the NBA.
The Sixers cut the lead to 102-100, but Jerian Grant buried a jumper that sealed the win for the Knicks.
Interim coach Kurt Rambis flirted with the idea of putting Anthony back in the game as the lead dwindled.
''He didn't have that sort of certainty he was ready to go back in,'' Rambis said. ''He'd been sitting out a long time. `Do you want to go in?' `Do you want me to go in?' It went back and forth like that.''
Anthony said his stomach hurt in the morning and he wasn't even sure he would play.
He stayed on the bench - and the Knicks never completely lost their lead.
''I believed in my teammates that they were going to pull it out,'' Anthony said. ''It felt good to sit in the fourth.''
The Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak, modest by their standard. Four of their 32 wins have come against the Sixers and they swept them in a season for the first time 1994-95.
Robert Covington scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Sixers. Nerlens Noel had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The NBA-worst Sixers have only 10 wins and failed to earn back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Knicks: F Kristaps Porzingis sat out again with a strained right shoulder. He hoped he could return this season, even if it's just for one game. ''I want to come back, but it's not really in my hands,'' he said. ''If I can recover and be 100 percent before the season is over, then I'll play.'' Porzingis hasn't moved his shoulder much and said he felt no real pain. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds in 72 games.
Sixers: G Isaiah Canaan is out for the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. ... Coach Brett Brown said he enjoyed his three-year working relationship with former general manager Sam Hinkie. Hinkie quit this week via a 13-page manifesto and is set to be replaced by Bryan Colangelo. Brown and Hinkie had a farewell chat Thursday. ''It was one of reflection, talking about different things with the team,'' Brown said. ''I asked him, what do you think about free agents, what do you think about the draft? How it would have continued to try and grow the team.''
HALL OF FAMER
Allen Iverson walked into a press conference and announced, ''I'm baaaaack.''
This time, as a Hall of Famer.
Iverson returned to Philadelphia in honor of earning a spot in the 2016 Hall of Fame class. He'll be enshrined on Sept. 9.
Did the room bring back any memories?
''Yeah, what you want me to say, `practice?''' he said, laughing.
Iverson won four scoring titles for the Sixers and was the 2001 MVP when he led them to the NBA Finals. Iverson was hilarious and heartfelt for 20 minutes, pausing to wipe tears from his eyes when he talked about his family. He cracked jokes with reporters and let fans know how much he cared.
''I love them for what they gave me. The love and the support that they gave me,'' he said. ''There will never be nothing like the relationship that I had with the fans in Philadelphia.''
TMZ Sports reported that Noel was being sued by the owners of a home he leased for causing significant damage to the property. The owners sued for Noel for $75,000. ''It's an ongoing investigation that I can't really comment on,'' Noel said. ''I know the facts will come out.''
Coach Brett Brown said, ''We will help him deal with this.''
Anthony said it was ''unfortunate'' an usher lost her job in New Orleans following a recent incident where a little boy ran onto the court during a stoppage in play and hugged the Knicks star. Anthony kindly patted the boy on the head.
''I never want to see nobody lose their job,'' Anthony said. ''It was kind of a safety situation. If it wasn't a kid, it could have got worse out there. It could have been a worse situation than what it was.''
Knicks: Host Toronto on Sunday.
Sixers: Host Milwaukee on Sunday.