Sixers crush the Knicks

February 20, 2008 7:36:34 PM PST
Those "Fire Isiah! chants followed Isiah Thomas from New York.So did 48 minutes of wretched basketball.

Even the excuses - this time Thomas blaming the looming trade deadline as a distraction - came with the Knicks' latest humiliation.

"We've had our good moments and we've had our share of bad moments," Thomas said.

Few as bad as this game.

The Philadelphia 76ers rarely have had a win so easy, scoring 100 points through three quarters and crushing the Knicks 124-84 on Wednesday night.

New York had turnovers on almost every possession in some stretches, took ugly shots and trailed by 46 points in the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, a few Knicks fans - or more likely 76ers fans poking fun at New York's dismal situation - started the familiar "Fire Isiah!" chant. Thomas couldn't escape the derisive jeer or another loss down I-95.

"We've got to keep working," Thomas said. "All we can do is keep working."

Willie Green scored 21 points, Thaddeus Young had a career-high 20 and Andre Iguodala added 19 for the Sixers, who won their sixth straight at home.

"We want to compete hard every game and make the playoffs," Iguodala said.

Philadelphia's win came hours after the Sixers gave coach Maurice Cheeks a one-year contract extension. While one former NBA point guard-turned-coach celebrated, the belittled and beleaguered Thomas could only sit on the Knicks bench and simply stare ahead at this horror.

Jamal Crawford scored 14 points and Eddy Curry had 12 for the Knicks. The Knicks had 25 turnovers.

With Curry and Zach Randolph among the Knicks rumored to be dealt before Thursday's trade deadline, Thomas said "my guy's minds were elsewhere."

Curry said the speculation weighed on him, though he didn't think he would be traded.

"It's definitely a tough thing for me to deal with, but it's part of being a professional," he said. "There's going to be talks, maybe trades. So you've got to be prepared."

One night after the Knicks fell two points shy of the NBA record for points in overtime (23) in a win at Washington, the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference came out with nothing.

Green, Andre Miller and Young scored almost all the points during a 21-4 run in the first quarter that started the blowout. The Sixers, who have won six of seven overall to jump into the Eastern Conference playoff race, led 37-17 at the end of the quarter.

It was their season high for points in a quarter and their 14 steals in the first half was a franchise record.

Miller, who had 12 points and 10 assists, made three of those steals in the half. By halftime, Philadelphia's latest win on the way to a playoff push was never in doubt.

"We could have put ourselves in a better position by winning the games that we are supposed to earlier," Miller said.

Of course, it helped that the Knicks turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter. New York committed 16 turnovers in the first half and went 3-for-14 from 3-point range.

The Sixers really didn't have to try all that hard. They blew the game open in the second quarter with easy layups and dunks as the Knicks seemed to show little interest in defending.

"If you win each quarter, the game will still be easy," Cheeks said. "But if you go out there and let the other team creep and creep, next thing you know, you have a 10-, 15-point game."

Not in this rout. The Knicks did manage to score 10 straight points in the fourth quarter, but it didn't matter much.

"It's definitely going to stick with guys until the next game," Randolph said. "Guys are going to be thinking about it."

Young sank a hook shot with 48.2 seconds left in third to give the Sixers a whopping 100-54 lead.

The Sixers, who led the Knicks 102-57 through three, scored 100 points in the first three quarters for the first time since Dec. 7, 1990 against Denver. Their largest margin of victory in franchise history was a 62-point win over, yup, the Knicks on Dec. 25, 1960.

"It was tough for them to get back into the game with the lead we had," Miller said.

The Sixers almost set a Wachovia Center record for their biggest margin of victory - they beat the Bucks by 43 points last month ... They also scored a season high in points. ... The Sixers hadn't scored at least 124 points in regulation since a 134-107 win over Detroit on April 12, 1994.