The 76ers and Knicks used to the the laughing stock of the NBA. The Knicks still have a long season ahead to end that stigma, but both teams picked up impressive wins Monday.
Facing the Rockets for the second time in the young season, Philadelphia earned a tough 115-107 win in Houston thanks to solid defense and contributions from future stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid down the stretch.
The Rockets (5-3) scored four points in the final 3:28 of the game and missed 9 of their last 10 shots as the Sixers (3-4) ended an eight-game series losing streak to move to 3-4 on the season. Simmons dropped 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Embiid added 22 points.
Eric Gordon, who knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat the Sixers on Oct. 18, scored 25 points and James Harden had 29 in the Rockets (5-3) loss.
The Knicks (3-3) recorded their third straight win Monday in a 116-110 win over the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden.
Kristaps Porzingis dropped a career-high 38 points with seven rebounds but the star of the game might have been bench player Kyle O'Quinn. The Knicks big man scored 15 in 21 minutes despite taking just four shots in the game. He was 9 of 10 from the free-throw line with 12 rebounds and five blocks while registering a team-best plus-14.
The Knicks will look for their fourth consecutive win Wednesday against the Rockets.
Studs of the night
Jazz center Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and six blocks as Utah topped the Mavericks 104-89.
Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, who was banged up last week, scored 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 115-99 loss to the upstart Magic (5-2).
Duds of the night
The Trail Blazers (4-3) scored their first and only field goal of the second quarter with 5.4 seconds remaining in the half. Portland was just 1 of 17 from the field in the quarter en route to a 99-85 home loss to the Raptors. Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless scored just four points each in a combined 71 minutes.
The Celtics (5-2) beat the Spurs (4-3) for their fifth straight victory as Kyrie Irving scored 24 points for the third straight game.
Thunder (3-3) at Bucks (4-2), Tuesday 8 p.m. ET on NBATV — Last season’s MVP and the odds-on favorite to capture the trophy this season square off to highlight a four-game Halloween slate. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have put up stellar numbers, but they have nothing on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging just under 35 points a game with 10.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.